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Magistrate orders inquiry in fired ZAWA officer

THE Livingstone Magistrate’s Court has ordered investigations in the dismissal of a Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officer who was assaulted and later fired from work.
This is in a case in which Reuben Chikumba 34, a human resource officer at ZAWA, assaulted his workmate, Nosiku Linenga 37, a public prosecutor.
Facts before Livingstone magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa are that on September 4, 2015, Chikumba of Nottie-Broad area assaulted Linenga by squeezing and pulling his private parts during a dispute and, thereafter, allegedly facilitated his dismissal.
Testifying before the court, Mr Linenga said ZAWA management, which Chikumba is part of, dismissed him after the incident, on charges of incompetence.
Mr Linenga told a packed court room that prior to his dismissal, he was approached by management and ordered to withdraw assault charges against Chikumba or risk losing his job.
In his ruling, Magistrate Mwelwa found that Chikumba must have told the ZAWA management lies for them to side with him in the case between him and the complainant.
Mr Mwelwa said management muscularly supported Chikumba to the extent of dismissing Mr Linenga and also interfering with witnesses in the matter.
“ZAWA management’s conduct undermined sanctity of the criminal proceedings of this court and that must not be allowed at all,” he said
Magistrate Mwelwa has since ordered the Dambwa Central Police Criminal Investigations officer to investigate ZAWA management on Mr Linenga’s dismissal and over witnesses that were allegedly threatened of job losses if they testified against Chikumba.
“Mr Linenga told this court that he intended to call witnesses in the matter, but they were not called because they feared to be dismissed. Please also investigate whether it is true that Mr Linenga was told to withdraw the case or be dismissed,” he said
He said if the allegations are established as true, whoever will be found liable of undermining court proceedings, will be subpoenaed by the court.
The court order follows the conviction of Chikumba, who has been remanded in custody awaiting sentencing on January 29 this year.