CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
FORMER Lusaka Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta yesterday broke down while his daughter, Melissa, collapsed after the High Court acquitted him
and four others of aggravated robbery.
Mwaliteta, 46, a politician; Evans Mukobela, 44, a student; Macmillan Shimukonka, 33, an operations manager; Laswell Phiri, 42, a businessman; and Emmanuel Mumbi, of an unknown age, were jointly charged with two counts of aggravated robbery.
High Court judge Mwape Bowa, in a ruling on whether the five had a case to answer or not, found that there was insufficient evidence to place the accused persons on their defence.
“There is insufficient evidence to warrant me to place the accused persons on their defence. The State has failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused persons participated in the incident,” Justice Bowa said.
Justice Bowa said Mwaliteta was found at the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on election business as there was no evidence to suggest that he was there to commit a crime.
He said there was a presidential election taking place in August last year and there was nothing strange with political party officials to be found at ECZ.
Justice Bowa said it is a known fact that Mwaliteta is a politician and that he went to ECZ for election business. He said there was no direct evidence to link the accused persons to the incident for them to be held liable.
He noted that there was dereliction of duty on the part of the police investigating team when they failed to investigate the alibi that was given by three of the accused persons when they said they were not near the crime scene at the time of the incident.
Justice Bowa also said there was some communication between former police commissioner Fanwell Siandenge and the owner of a Toyota vehicle which was allegedly carrying assailants and later abandoned.
He also established that none of the accused persons was found with any of the stolen items or offensive weapons which were used during the attack.
And Mwaliteta’s daughter, Melissa, who was overwhelmed with emotion, collapsed in court when Justice Bowa acquitted her father.
Mwaliteta, who was still in the accused dock at the time, could not hold back his tears as he praised God when Justice Bowa announced his acquittal.