FORMER Tourism minister Ronald Chitotela has asked the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to dismiss the two counts of unlawful possession of property charges he is facing because he cannot be prosecuted as he entered a consent agreement with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
And Lusaka magistrate Jennifer Bwalya has granted Chitotela K20,000 bail while sureties are bound in the sum of K200,000 in their own recognisance.
Chitotela is charged with two counts of being in possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
It is alleged in the first count that between May 1, 2017 and October 30, 2018 in the Lusaka, Chitotela jointly and whilst acting together with another person unknown did possess property No. 3270/M, valued at K380, 000 property reasonably suspected of being a proceed of crime.
In count two, Chitotela is alleged to have between November 3, 2017 and December 5, 2017 in the Lusaka received K500,000.00 from Veil Construction Limited through RKC Travel and Guide Limited account number 62489001398, property.
But before he could take plea, Mr Chitotela’s lawyers Andrew Kombe and Benjamin Mwelwa, raised a preliminary issue.
The lawyers argued that the two counts which Chitotela was charged with were the subject of a consent settlement pursuant to section 80 of the ACC Act no. 3 of 2012.
Mr Kombe submitted that the consent agreement that was entered between ACC and Mr Chitotela indicated that count one and two in the current indictment were counts two and nine of the previous case where the accused and ACC entered a consent settlement.
“Your Honour, we are taken aback as to why the ACC would indict the accused person on the same charges where a consent settlement was made,” he said.
Mr Kombe wants the court to determine whether Mr Chitotela could still be tried on charges which were a subject of the consent agreement.
But the ACC, through its lead prosecutor Martin Mayembe, urged the court not to entertain the application but order for the matter to proceed to trial.
He said Mr Chitotela did not undergo trial in the matter where a consent agreement was entered and as such, his application was misplaced and should be dismissed.
“There was no trial in the matter and the accused person never took plea in the matter,” Mr Kombe said.
The defence lawyers also applied for bail which magistrate Bwalya granted.
Meanwhile, the State applied that Kombe should recuse himself from representing Mr Chitotela as he was a potential witness in the case.
Ruling has been reserved to May 18.
Source – Zambianobserver.com
Read the full post of
Ronald Chitotela argues that he can’t be tried…he entered a consent agreement with ACC here.