Chitotela’s ruling fail to take off, Judgement not ready

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Lusaka Magistrate Court has set Thursday to deliver its ruling on whether Housing and Infrastructure Minister Ronald Chitotela has a case to answer or not.

This is in a matter where Mr Chitotela is jointly charged with Gregory Chibanga, Diris Mukange and Brut Holdings limited of concealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Lusaka Magistrate David Simusamba was scheduled to give his ruling yesterday but adjourned the case to Thursday this week because the ruling was not yet ready.

Magistrate Simusamba set the date for the ruling after the state exhausted its list of witnesses in the matter.In this matter the four suspects are represented Lusaka Lawyers Jonas Zimba and others.

In the last court session, an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator had admitted that there was no evidence directly linking Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela to the US$300,000 which was allegedly used to buy two properties he is accused of concealing.

The witness, Christopher Siwakwi, said this before Lusaka Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba in a case Chitotela has been charged with three others for allegedly concealing property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. Chitotela, 47, who is also Pambashe member of Parliament, is charged with Gregory Chibanga and Brut Holdings Limited (where Chibanga is managing director) for alleged concealment of the property in the names of Diris Mukange; who is facing two counts of being in possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.

In cross examination defence lawyer Mulambo Haimbe, Mr Siwakwi also said he did not establish the relationship between Chitotela and Mukange and that he did not verify if it is true that Mukange is related to Chibanga.

In earlier cross examination another defence lawyer Jonas Zimba, Mr Siwakwi said he did not bring to court an estate agent identified as Jonathan Simwinga, who linked Chitotela’s wife Lilian Lufupa Chitotela to Mary Kateya Lubinga, the seller of subdivision number 148 of farm 50A in Lusaka’s Makeni area.

Mr Siwakwi said during his investigations he never interacted with China Harbour Engineering Limited, despite the company being at the centre of the US$300, 000 it sent to Andrew and Partners, a law firm which later allegedly paid US$154,000 for Ms Lubinga’s property.

The witness, who earlier said in his evidence-in-chief that he instituted investigations into the matter after receiving allegations that Chitotela was in possession of unexplained property acquired from bribes he was getting from local and foreign contractors, told the court that the minister is neither charged for bribery nor corruption.

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