Zambia Continues Trial against Journalist
The Zambian government appears to be pressing forward with its trial against the investigative journalist Chanda Chimba III, the creator of the “Stand Up for Zambia” documentary series which cast a critical view of the current President Michael Sata.
Last week in the Lusaka Magistrates Court, a witness told the judge that he “saw nothing wrong” with the transactions amounting to K128 million non-rebased paid to Muvi TV for airing the Stand Up For Zambia television documentary.
Allan Mulenga, prosecution witness number 13 of 1, Chimwemwe Way Livingstone told Principal Resident Magistrate Obbister Musukwa that a total of 16 programmes were aired at a unit cost of K8 million old currency.
This is in the continued trial Monday July 21, 2014 of freelance journalist Chanda Chimba, III on two counts of unlawful printing and publishing and one count of having property being proceeds of crime. Appearing with Chimba, are former Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Lt. Gen. Ronnie Shikapwasha and former Permanent Secretary in the same ministry Dr. Sam Phiri who are both charged with abuse of office.
Mulenga, a Security Manager, told the court that on August 15, 2012 Muvi TV received some visitors from the Government Joint Investigation Team (GJIT) Task Force who wanted to find out how many Stand Up For Zambia programmes had been aired and how much money had been paid. He said a letter authored and signed by him was then sent to the Inspector General of Police with a programming schedule attached to it.
Mulenga who outlined that one of his responsibilities is to protect company property also submitted that as far as Muvi TV is concerned there was no government or public official involved in the payments to the institution as “all payments were made in cash by the client Mr. Chanda Chimba, III.” He added that he did not physically examine the Stand Up For Zambia account and was unable to say whether there were any receipts or not. However, Mulenga conceded that he had no first hand information about the transactions.
Another witness, Stanford Chiyoba Mumba now based at Stanbic Bank Choma but was until September 2013 Head, Service Support in charge of branch administration and operations at Stanbic Bank Mulungushi Branch in Lusaka narrated how he was visited by officers from the GJIT Task Force on August 9, 2012. He said the officers produced a search warrant to have access to the accounts of Phibajo Productions and Chanda Chimba, III. “I was asked to assist with the mandate file and bank statements of the two accounts,” Mumba said.
Mumba who is prosecution witness 14 said he went ahead to print the statements of the two accounts which showed that the last deposit transaction in the Phibajo account was December 24, 2009. He further told the court that as at August 9, 2012 the account was inactive and showed a nil balance. Trial continues Tuesday July 22, 2014 at 09:00 hours in Court 5.