The case in which ex-Head of Media studies Department at Evelyn Hone College Clayson Hamasaka is framed for being in possession of obscene material on his laptop failed to take off when the state applied that the matter be adjourned because the key witness, Lovemore Cheelo was out of town.
In a suspicious arrangement, the Zambia Information and Communications Authority (ZICTA) only sent a letter to the trial magistrate Obster Musukwa claiming their fake computer expert was unable to attend court because he had been sent for official duties outside town.
This prompted magistrate Musukwa to sternly warn that he would not condone a situation where witnesses were not availed in court as the law was very clear that court issues take precedence over other matters.
“Gentlemen, the law is very clear. It is not me who made it. Witnesses are required to appear before this court when they are needed. Court matters take precedence over other issues. We may be forced to issue a bench warranty so that they are arrested and be forced to appear before this court,” Magistrate Musakwa warned the state.
Cheelo, the star witness in the matter who has now been exposed as belonging to the Office of the President (OP) secret agents assigned to ZICTA was supposed to appear for cross-examination in a matter he is trying to implicate Mr. Hamaasaka with a charge of being in possession of obscene material.
The Zambia intelligence security wings have now started hiding the fake computer witness, Cheelo, for fear of being prosecuted for perjury as ruled by the magistrate court in another matter involving Lusaka Lawyer Keith Mweemba.
Highly reliable sources say Cheelo is actually around Lusaka at one of the OP centres and now fearing arrest for perjury as ordered by the magistrate in Mr. Mweemba’s case where he claimed to have a Diploma from NIPA and other institutions, but later confessed that he had none hence facing a charge of lying on oath and liable to perjury.
In Mr. Mweemba’s case, Cheelo was sent to prison after being declared a refractory witness or someone who says one thing in one breath and later changes and also refuses to answer questions put to him in court.
This followed Cheelo’s claim that he was a ZICTA computer expert who was trained at NIPA and other institutions but when challenged to present educational qualifications, he said he had none.
Apparently, Cheelo presented the same qualifications as an expert witness for the state when he testified against Mr. Hamasaka and may now face the same questions and possible imprisonment for having lied on oath in this matter as well.
In July this year, a combined team of Drug Enforcement Commision (DEC), Zambia Police and Zambia secret service raided Mr. Hamasaka’s home and other journalists they suspected were correspondents for the Zambianwatchdog and arrested them for various offences ranging from seditious practices and being in possession of obscene materials.
They confiscated computers, mobiles phones, flash disks, and subjected them to ZICTA screening where Cheelo was tasked to find anything incriminating.
After days of keeping the computers, they arrested and charged them with being in possession of obscene materials, even when the search on their computers were done without their presence or the presence of their lawyers.
Mr. Hamasaka’s matter has since been adjourned to another date.