THREE Lusaka police officers along with two PF cadres have appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court charged with aggravated robbery, personating a public officer and attempts at extortion.
The accused are said to have intercepted a truck of sea food whilst armed with Ak 47 riffles and allegedly got away with 19 boxes of sea food worth k1,124,500
Gift Kasaro, 30 a PF cadre of Meanwood Ibex, Nathan Kalaba 37 a police officer of Kabangwe, Joseph Mwansa 42 a police officer of Chilenje Police Camp, George Kalenga 52, an aid of ruling party PF secretary Davies Mwila and a Traffic Inspector at RTSA of Kabwata site and service, and Collins Chileshe 55 a police officer of Sikanze Police Camp had the charges of aggravated robbery and attempts at extortion explained to them by Chief resident magistrate Lameck Mwale yesterday morning.
The five could not take plea as the offences they were slapped with are only triable by the Lusaka High Court.
Meanwhile Kasaro pleaded not guilty to a charge of personating a public officer.
Allegations are that Kasaro, Kalaba, Mwansa, Chileshe and Kalenga, on October 12, 2019 whilst acting together and whilst armed with two AK 47 Rifles stole 19 Boxes of Dry sea food altogether valued at K1,124,500.00, the Property of Allan Kabamba and immediately before the time of stealing used or threatened to use actual violence on Amon Mwale in order to retain or prevent or overcome resistance of the sea food being stolen.
It is alleged in count two that Kasaro, on October 12, 2019 whilst acting together with other persons unknown, falsely did represent himself to Amon Mwale as a public officer employed by Zambia Bureau of Standards.
It is further alleged in Count three that
Kasaro, Kalaba, Mwansa, Chileshe and Kalenga, on the same date whilst acting together with intent to extort solicited for K30,000.00 cash from Allan Kabamba.
lawyer relresenting the accused Nicholas Chanda made an application for a preliminary inquiry in the matter to ascertain whether the alleged offencei was committed and to ascertain wether the Ak 47 riffles were used in the crime.
state prosecutor Aaron Tuntuluka objected to the application by the defence as the application for a preliminary inquiry was hurriedly done, as there was no delay caused in having the accused committed to the High Court.
He said instructions to commit the accused to the high Court would be availed to the prosecutions within 14 days and it would render the preliminary inquiry an academic exercise.
In response Chanda said Section 223(1) of the criminal procedure code is mandatory as whenever a person is brought to court on charges that are not triable by the subordinate court a preliminary inquiry Shall be conducted.
In his ruling magistrate Mwale ordered that the preliminary inquiry be conducted as the provision of section 223(1) of the CPC is couched on mandatory terms and leaves no room for the court to exercise its discretion on whether or not a preliminary inquiry should be held or not as its hands are tied.
Magistrate Mwale ordered that the preliminary inquiry commences on November 5.
According to sources the sea food known as abalone was allegedly concealed as Dry Fish to evade Tax as it was imported from South Africa, en-route to Hong Kong.
The accused Police officers, were alerted by some PF cadres that a truck belonging to a Zimbawean businessman contained sea foods and not dry fish. The officers intercepted the truck carrying the contraband and took it to Kabwata police station.
police officers who tried to enforce the law together with the PF cadres were charged with Aggravated Robbery, while the Abalone was allegedly flown out of the country.
Following the saga Mwila’s body guard Kalenga was disowned by the party.