16 January 2013

Zambia: Journalists Facing Trial Cry Foul Over Arrests

The defence lawyer representing former Information and Broadcasting Minister in the previous Movement for Multiparty Democracy government Ronnie Shikapwasha and his permanent secretary Sam Phiri, have established that the indictment served to the accused persons was defective.

Phiri and three others, including freelance journalist Chanda Chimba III, former Zambia Daily Mail Deputy Managing Editor Davies Mataka, and consultant Ngande Mwananjiti, could not take plea today because the lawyers submitted to Lusaka magistrate Aridah Chulu that their clients were served with defective indictments in matter when they were arrested.

Magistrate Aridah Chulu then asked the State prosecution team to review the documents in question and adjourned the matter.

The former minister and his permanent secretary are facing charges of abuse of authority of office.

Mataka and Mwananjiti are charged for corrupt acquisition of property and revenue, while Chimba is accused of running a newspaper publication without having it registered with the National Archives of Zambia.

All the charges are in connection with the authorization of the airing of a documentary TV series called Stand Up for Zambia which was broadcast on national television (ZNBC) before and during the general elections campaign which the MMD lost the now ruling Patriotic Front.

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