Chitotela in court, plea set for Feb 19

By Staff Reporter
INFRASTRUCTURE development minister Ronald Chitotela and two others this morning appeared  in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on four  counts of concealing two properties in Makeni and Ibex Hill and possession of the same properties which are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Chitotela who is also Pambashe PF member of parliament is jointly charged with Gregory Chibanga, Brut Holdings Limited and Diris Mukange.
Chitotela, Chibanga and Mukange could, however, not take plea because the representative of Brut Holdings Limited was absent.
In the first and second count, Chitotela,  Chibanga and Brut Holding Limited are alleged to have between July 1, 2016 and October 30, 2018 in Lusaka jointly and whilst acting together concealed lot number 148 of farm 50A  situated in Makeni Lusaka, disguised in the names of Mukange and the remaining extent of subdivision A of lot 22183 /M situated in Ibex Hill Lusaka which was also disguised in the name of Mukange.
The two properties are reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.
And the third and fourth count are in respect of Mukange.
It is alleged in both counts that during the same period that the minister concealed the two properties, Mukange possessed the properties which are suspected of being proceeds of crime.
But due to the absence of the representative of Brut Holdings Limited, principal resident magistrate David Simusamba who allocated the case to himself, adjourned it to February 19 for plea Chitotela’s defence team comprises of Jonas Zimba, Noel Simwanza while James Mataliro is appearing for Chibanga and Brut Holdings.
Mukange is being defended by Mark Haimbe.
On the other hand, the prosecution includes Clifford Moonga, Martin Mayembe and Silumesi Muchula.
Meanwhile, magistrate Simusamba said the media should be responsible in the manner in which they will cover the proceedings.
He said he will not hesitate to cite journalists misrepresenting facts of the case.
He sounded the warning following complaints by Chitotela’ s lawyers Zimba and Simwanza who asked the court to place a caveat on the media alleging that some irresponsible media had prejudiced their client by convicting him before trial.
However, the State said the media should not be gagged, saying the law on contempt was clear.