Lawyer testifies in Chitotela case
By Staff Reporter
THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has heard how lawyers who represented Infrastructure minister Ronald Chitotela in the purchase of a house in Makeni inserted one of his co-accused’s name Diris Mukange as the purchaser.
And principal resident magistrate David Simusamba today ejected Chitotela’s supporters from the courtroom for murmuring after a state prosecutor applied to adjourn the case after finishing with witnesses who were lined up for the day.
Lawyer Zukani Simposya said this during continued hearing of the matter in which Chitotela is jointly charged with Gregory Chibanga, Brut Holdings Limited and Mukange on four counts of concealing and being in possession of Lot 22183 /M situated in Ibex Hill and 148 of farm 50A situated in Makeni, properties suspected to be proceeds of crime but they denied all the charges.
Simposya, who is the 18th state witness, testified before Simusamba that he acted for Mary Lubinga, the Lusaka woman who was initially the owner of the Makeni house which Chitotela allegedly bought.
Simposya said he was a partner at MSK Advocates that he was the one who drafted a contract of sale between his client Lubinga to a buyer whose name he did not insert in the contract as per his usual style.
He explained that Lubinga gave him instructions in mid 2016.
Simposya said he accompanied her to go and see the property that she was selling and discovered that many people had viewed the property over the past six months.
He said eventually, his client informed him that she had met a couple whom she introduced as Mr and Mrs Chitotela who were prospective buyers of the property and had negotiated and settled the price with them.
Simposya said when it was time for him to do his part, he asked Lubinga to give him the couple’s number and the law firm which was representing the other side which was Andrews and Partners.
He said Andrews and Partners confirmed that they had instructions to receive the draft contract of sale from him, explaining that he only inserted the names and details of the vendor and description of the property but did not imprint the names of the buyer.
Simposya said few days later, he received the draft contract back with the buyer’s name inserted as Diris Mukange.
He said since he already had instructions from his client, he called her bearing in mind that she had spoken to a lot of people over the sale of the property and told her the name which was on the draft contract of sale but she told him that she had not negotiated with anybody with that name.
The witness said he advised Lubinga that there was no problem with that as the issue was who was the buyer on the document was not their business.
Simposya said the house was paid for in full but did not disclose the amount.
He said he accompanied Lubinga to go and hand over the keys at the property in Makeni and she introduced him to Mrs Chitotela whom the keys were handed over to.
The court also heard evidence from Richard Kasongo, a civil engineer from Ng’andu Consultancy.
Kasongo said he was amazed that his name was among the names of professionals on Brut Holdings Limited.
He said he was surprised to find his professional details on the file which was given to him by the ACC about a month ago because he does not remember giving consent to anyone to use his details.
After Kasongo concluded his testimony, ACC senior prosecutor Boniface Chiwala applied that the case be adjourned to next Wednesday due to circumstances beyond their control.
But Chitotela’s supporters murmured prompting the magistrate to eject them out of his court.
Hearing continues on June 5.