Gen Chimese, 2 others trial fail to take off

By Staff Reporter
THE case in which former Zambia Air Force Commander  Eric Chimese is jointly charged  with his wife and Chita Lodges managing director this morning failed to off in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court because the wife is unwell.
Gen Chimese, wife Sharon  and James Chungu  are  facing  five  counts of abuse of authority and money laundering relating to properties after two counts were discontinued  by the State on Monday.
It is alleged in one of the five counts that Gen Chimese, being a public officer at the time, namely ZAF Commander, abused  his authority of office, by engaging ZAF employees to do some works on his private property in Ibex Hill.
Other allegations are that Gen Chimese and Chungu  jointly and whilst acting together  concealed and disguised the rights with respect to ownership of nine flats, one single storey building, one guest wing and one semi detached cottage situated on Farm no. 2303 /Q in Ibex Hill.
It is further alleged that this is despite the duo having knowledge to believe that the said properties were a proceed of crime.
When the case was called before magistrate Nsunge Chanda for continued hearing, one of the defence lawyers Kebby Wishimanga told the court that Sharon was not before court as she was unwell and admitted to the hospital.
And when lead defence lawyer Kelvin Bwalya (KBF) tried to explain further on why Sharon and her sureties were not before court, the magistrate cautioned him against speaking on behalf of his client and her sureties, saying his role was only to defend the case.
Magistrate Chanda wondered what KBF would do if one day the accused and her sureties will not be present and she asked him as counsel to find them.
She noted that there was a sick note, hence no need for KBF to explain further on Sharon’s absence before court.
Meanwhile, Chief State advocate Gamaliel Zimba said the prosecution was ready to proceed with six witnesses but added that it was unfortunate one of the accused was not before court.
Trial is expected to continue on August 13.