11 September 2012

Zambia: Ruth Murder Suspects Appear in Court

Photo: Capital FM
Police have said it could be a ritual murder .

FIVE people charged with the alleged murder of 19-year-old National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) student, Ruth Mbandu yesterday appeared before a Lusaka magistrate's court.

Ruth's uncle, Pastor George Kaloma 31, of Kabanana Site and Service is among those who have been indicted for his niece's murder, contrary to Section 200, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

Pastor Kalomo, Bishop Evans Ngulube 58, Edward Siandima 28, a general worker, Emmanuel Serenje 23, driver and Jordan Kapembwa 25, a business executive all of Lusaka are facing one count of murdering Ruth.

Particulars of the offence are that the five on unknown dates but between July 13 2012 and July 14 2012 in Lusaka jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown murdered Ruth.

But after reading out the charge to the accused yesterday, Lusaka Magistrate Betty Malupenga informed the five accused that they could not take plea as the offence they were facing could only take off for trial in the High Court.

Magistrate Malupenga explained to Pastor Kalomo, Pastor Ngulube, Siandima, Serenje and Kapembwa that they were appearing for a mere mention and explanation of the charge, while they awaited instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions for their committal to the High Court.

The five were later taken to the holding cell where they waited for the truck which ferried suspects commonly known as 'Kasalanga' to take them to Chimbokaila Prisons.

Ruth was on July 13, 2012 brutally killed in what was believed to be a ritual murder in Lusaka's Emmasdale area by unknown people.

She had her face peeled off and her eyes poked out, leaving only her hair and teeth before her naked body was dumped at one of the houses in the area.

According to her mother Victoria Mbandu, a widow, Ruth was on the material day coming from Kabanana Township where she had gone to visit her uncle Pastor Kalomo.

And a Kitwe magistrate's court has found five Chambishi residents charged with riotous behaviour with a case to answer and subsequently put them on their defence.

Magistrate Maxwell Mainsa found the five who included three women and two girls with a case to answer after the State closed the case against them.

Those found with a case to answer are Christine Nguni 43, Annette Kapoma 19, Lydess Makeleta 35, and two girls aged below 18 years who where jointly charged with three other girls.

They were all accused of riotous behaviour, contrary to Section 76 of the Penal Code after they allegedly breached the peace to the terror of the public on September 1 this year.

The accused persons allegedly participated in the Chambishi riots in which four businessexecutives suspected of ritual killings were burnt to death last week.

In his ruling, Mr Mainsa said the State had established a prima facie case against the five accused persons.

"From the evidence before me, the State has established a prima facie case against the accused persons and I, therefore, put them on their defence," he said.

Mr Mainsa, however, discharged three girls for lack of proper adherence to the juveniles Act by the State.

He said the State did not adhere to the provisions of the Juvenile Act during the proceedings and that matters involving juveniles, provisions of the Juvenile Act must be adhered to.

Mr Mainsa said parents or guardians must be present at all stages of the proceedings and in their absence, a social welfare officer must be present to protect the juveniles. He said lack of adherence to the Juveniles Act rendered the proceedings against the juveniles a nullity.

The three juveniles were, however, re-arrested by the police.

The matter comes up on September 18 for defence.

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