21 January 2013

Zambia: Court Hears How Taxi Driver Was Murdered

THE Kitwe High Court has heard how a 31-year-old taxi driver was brutally murdered, his tongue pulled out and his body dumped at Chingola Road Cemetery.

Justine Kaseloki is alleged to have been murdered by a Congolese national and two Zambians who dumped his body at the cemetery before stealing the motor vehicle he was driving.

This is in a case in which Augustine Mbuzakosi, 40, Kelvin Mwamba, 28, and Francis Kayombo, 22, all of Kawama Township, are charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and murder.

It is alleged that the trio on July 2, last year while armed with a knife, spanner and a screw driver robbed Mr Kaseloki of a Toyota Spacio, registration number ACR 1556 valued at K35 milion, and allegedly murdered him.

It is believed that Mr Kaseloki was booked by some people who later attacked him and robbed him of the vehicle.

The vehicle was recovered in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) and folded number plates were also recovered in a nearby forest.

Testifying in the matter, Boniface Chanda, 52, a Kitwe City Council (KCC) parks foreman recalled that on July 2 last year, he was working at Chingola Road Cemetery when he learnt that there was a body within the graveyard.

Mr Chanda told High Court Judge Isaac Kamwendo that when he went to check, he found the body with a blood-stained face.

He said, during examination-in-chief led by senior State advocate Mapenzi Hamachila, that the tongue had been pulled out and was protruding from the mouth.

Mr Chanda said he went to report the matter to Mindolo Police Station.

Another witness Betty Hachendala, 35, said she tried to call Mr Kaseloki whom she had employed but his phones were off.

Ms Hachendala said later the victim's family members went to Kitwe Central Hospital mortuary where they found his body.

She said on July 23, last year, she received a call from police officers that her vehicle had been recovered in DRC and that she was required to go and identify it.

Another witness Emmanuel Sakala, 16, said he was at a pay phone when two men approached him saying they were selling a phone at KR20.

After negotiating with the men, they brought down the price to KR18, but he only gave them KR15 and remained with a balance of KR3.

The court heard that a few days later police officers called him to inquire about the phone.

Hearing continues on January 30 this year.

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