Former Inktech managing director Mathews Mohan who is already in prison for other crimes has been sentenced to death by hanging for the gruesome murder Cyclone Hardware director Sajid Itowala in 2009.
But his co-accused persons Idris and Shabee Patel have been acquitted due to lack of evidence linking the two brothers to the killing of Mr Itowala.
Supreme Court judge Gregory Phiri, sitting as High Court judge, said in a five-hour judgment delivered in Lusaka this afternoon that there are no mitigating circumstances warranting Mohan to be given any other sentence apart from death by hanging.
The Watchdog is particularly interested in this matter because we first broke the murder of Itowala and our journalists were harassed and arrested for this same matter.
When Itowala was murdered, there was a huge attempt by the police, judges and the media especially the Post newspaper to cover up this matter. The Post and Judge Phiri went to the extent of framing Emmanuel Mwamba and arresting him for an article we published detailing how Itowala was killed and the subsequent attempt by the police and judges to cover up the murder. For two months, only the Watchdog was covering this matter until the police were forced to make arrests and the media reluctantly joined.
WE NOW TAKE YOU BACK TO 2009:
Who murdered Lusaka businessman Sajid Itowala?
July 30, 2009 | Filed under: Exclusives | Posted by:
Cyclone is currently doing some rehabilitation works at the Lusaka High court
Mr. Sajid Itowala is a prominent businessman in the construction industry in Zambia. He owns Cyclone Hardware & Construction Ltd. He was brutally murdered last week in a mafia style. But it would seem that his murder is being kept away from the public eye.
Police sources have told the Watchdog that Mr. Itowala was killed in his car during the day in Lusaka west. His legs and arms were broken indicating that he was tortured before being shot three times.
According to sources, in the process of being tortured, Mr. Itowala sent a text message (SMS) to his friend saying he has been attacked somewhere behind the Brazilian embassy.
His body was found in his Benz Car about 100 meters from a police post in Lusaka west. The car was locked. His body showed three gun wounds and broken limbs.
And that was the last a few curious onlookers in Lusaka west heard of the case.
But Mr. Itowala is a prominent Zambian of Indian origin businessman. His company is registered by the National Construction Council of Zambia. He has been making donations to high profile organizations including those run by politicians or their wives.
On Saturday, December 13, 2008, Cyclone Construction was one of the three companies that donated assorted goods worth millions of kwacha and K10 million cash to the Ministers’ Spouses Club chaired by the first lady.
Cyclone Construction and Hardware Representative, Sam Zulu, whose company donated construction materials towards the refurbishment of some toilets at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), told Vice president George Kunda’s wife who received the donation that his company was willing to contribute towards the well being of the needy.
Mrs. Kunda said the Ministers’ Spouses club will remain focused in ensuring that the needy in society are helped.
She received the donations on behalf of the Ministers’ Spouses Chairperson, First Lady Thandiwe Banda.
Cyclone had also donated goods to the Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI).
Currently, Cyclone construction is undertaking rehabilitation works at the High and Supreme Court premises in Lusaka.
So it is surprising that the murder of such a prominent businessman is not announced. The police in Zambia routinely announce murders of even children.
Police sources have further revealed that there is inertia to investigate the murder of Mr. Itowala. Some police officers say that there is resistance from certain senior police officers to sanction the investigation.
Parallel information indicates that Mr. Itowala led a very risky business life. He grabbed premium plots of land using underhand methods from his clients who defaulted.
It is believed that a lot of employees of the ministry of Health have accounts at Cyclone Hardware where they could obtain building materials.
More than 20 workers at the ministry of health are in court for plunder.
More details coming…
WHEN IT BECAME APPARENT THAT THE POLICE AND JUDGES WERE ATTEMPTING TO BUNGLE THE CASE EVEN WHEN THE SUSPECTS WERE IN FRONT OF THEM, THE WATCHDOG PUBLISSHED THE DETAILS BELOW. THIS IS THE ARTICLE THAT CAUSED EMMANULE MWAMBA PROBLEMS THOUGH HE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT
MOHAN MATHEWS – AND THE SAJID ITOWALA MURDER
CYCLONE HARDWARE Chief Executive Officer, Sajid Itowala was murdered in July 2009. His body was found dumped in his Toyota Landcruiser in Lusaka west.
Two units, ‘The Scorpion’ and ‘C5’ at Lusaka Central Police began to investigate the murder. Soon the leads pointed to a house behind the Brazilian Embassy off Independence Road where a painter doing his job on the roof saw suspicious events.
Upon investigations, the house revealed that it was vacant and currently on sale and belonged to Mr. Igbol Rathi, father to Seymon Holdings Proprietor, Anuj Krishman Kumar Rathi, who is under-going criminal trial and is remanded in custody. Rathi is being tried for a case that saw former Zambia National Service commander Gen. Wilson Funjika jailed. He had earlier fled the country but was lured back to the country by Task-Force on Corruption officers.
Police picked Mr. Rathi to account for events that occurred at his house and led to Sajid’s death. Mr. Rathi expressed surprise and disclosed that he had given Mohan Mathews Ink-tech Managing Director, the duty to sell the house for him.
POLICE PICK MOHAN – AUGUST 3RD 2009
After the murder Mohan began to offer leads to his circlke of friends, people and police officers about the murder describing the details (contents of Sajid’s text messages on his phone) and the ‘Mafia Tactics’ that were used to kill Sajid. He began to disclose details that appeared too intimate for a non-player.
Police soon summoned Mohan to help with investigations. He chose to ignore the call-outs and shifted from his parent’s house. Police started a quiet manhunt. Mohan was only picked up a week later, on August 3 2009, when he was attempting to go his parents home. Officers had laid surveillance on his house for days.
Mohan cooperated with the police and revealed that he had played a role in Sajid’s capture but not his murder. He stated that his role only ended up with luring Sajid to the house. Mohan stated the capture, torture and murder of Sajid was done by other persons who he suspected where hired killers from South Africa. H e said that he was paid USD50, 000.00 down payment to bring Sajid to people that wanted him.
Mohan further revealed the money came from Sajid’s business rivals that included Idris Suleiman Patel and Shabir Suleiman Patel of Crown Paints. Idris and Shabir are currently remanded in custody facing similar charges of conspiracy to murder, as Mohan.
Police are assessing the evidence that show the extent of Mohan and the two brother’s involvement. On one hand, there is a scenario of hired assassins. The other is that a decoy was created that there was a case of foreign assassins when the murder was committed by the three with other local known thugs and car dealers.
At play were great interests from both the victim’s family and suspects’ family that kept on paying senior police officers to either expedite investigations on hand or bungle the investigations on the other.
Sajid was connected to many senior police and politicians that held building accounts in Cyclone Hardware. In fact his phone revealed texts and calls to Senior Police officers, Judges, Politicians and Lusaka City Council (LCC) and Ministry of Lands officials that seem to have formed a corrupt circle beneficial to Sajid.
Sajid had recently acquired a string of properties and prime empty plots of lands, sometimes under suspicious circumstances. He had also purchased the business complex in at the corner of Cairo and Kalundwe roads from Galaun Holdings.
Investigations revealed that there were two plausible reasons that motivated the murder. Either or both facts are said to have motivated the murder.
- RATHI CASE- Mr. Rathi is said to have been approached by Mohan Mathews and Task-Force on Corruption officers that included Dominic. That he should pay an amount of USD1million to help free his son from the case he is facing in Court. Mr. Rathi released an initial amount of USD200, 000.00 to help with the case. Mr. Rathi released this money to Sajid as he had reservations to hand it over to Mohan. Sajid claims that he gave Lusaka PRM Charles Kafunda this money. Mohan and TFC officers discovered that the money never reached the magistrate. Hence they picked Sajid, tortured him to confess and surrender back the money. Sajid was found with broken legs, broken ribs and arms.
- BUSINESS RIVALS- Idris and Shabir are being held because Mohan has implicated them. The two released USD50, 000.00 hours before the murder and evidence in text message validates this claim. Crown Paints hired a Chemist for their paint business from Pakistan. This Chemist stole from the Patels and attempted to flee back to Pakistan. He was cornered in Nairobi Kenya by Interpol and repatriated back to Zambia. Later this Chemist joined Sajid’s firm which apparently is just next door in Cha Cha Cha Road. This and other incidences forms part of the rivalry and consternation Sajid had brought to his colleagues in the Indian community. It is said that there were too many toes that Sajid had stepped on.
The two events seemed to have motivated the murder. It is said a hired assailants squad was imported from South Africa and Mohan was used to lure Sajid to them.
THE ESCAPE AND CAPTURE
There were several escape plots that were thwarted by Police. Whilst in custody Mohan was offered an escape but was advised by his family that he was risking his life by taking bait from the same officers that was investigating him. The family advised that Mohan ran away, he was going to be the centre of the allegations especially that there were known killers that took Sajid’s life and Mohan’s role was conspiratorial.
Mohan has now informed the police that the day he escaped, ‘with the help of the system’, he picked up a taxi in Burma Road minutes away from Ridgeway Police Post and went to his offices on 27, Ngumbo Road, longacres. He shares these spaces with business partner and politician George Chulumanda. He slept there for two nights. He called several people urging them not to worry as he had crossed into Zimbabwe and was okey.
But he didn’t go to Zimbabwe, he went to Dominic Nsokoshi’s place off Alick Nkhata road where he was found two weeks later.
What gave Mohan away was his incessant to call many people. His numerous numbers were all being traced to a cell site in Kalingalinga. The substantial financial reward offered by the victim’s family for the capture also motivated many to begin to give the police clues and pointers.
When Police issued a statement on Friday 11 September 2009 that they knew where Mohan was hiding and stated that they were closing in. Dominic then advised Mohan to leave his house. Mohan feared for his life. He opened contacts with police officers who he felt where ‘civil’ and requested them to evacuate him to Kafue. The officers alerted their boss and played along.
On Monday, 14th September 2009, the officers picked Mohan up who was disguised as a woman. He pleaded with them not to take him to Lusaka Central Police as he feared he would be killed. The Police took him to Lilayi Training School were they conducted debriefings.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde has directed that all units should surrender their investigations on this matter to a crack team at Force Headquarters. The IG has directed that fresh investigations be commenced and fresh dockets be raised as the manner in which earlier investigations were done attempted to satisfy outsiders and had nothing to do with the ends of Justice.
Meanwhile, Mohan and brothers Idris and Shabir have been committed to the High Court on charges of murder. Mohan, who has raft of past charges, will also appear in court for charges of escaping from unlawful custody. Dominic will be charged with the offences of aiding and harbouring a fugitive.
WHAT WAS MATHEW MOHAN TALKING ABOUT?
THE PLOT THICKENS; When, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Phiri sitting as High Court Judge found Ink Tech Managing Director Mohan Mathew, and brothers Idris and Shabir Patel, on 16th September 2010 with a case to answer in the murder of Cyclone Hardware Director, Sajid Itowala.
Mohan is no stranger to controversy. He literary coats it.
When he was arrested in 2006 for fraud, embezzlement and theft, he whispered to all that cared that “I am being persecuted because of the First lady” was at the centre of the case and his “social life”. He sent everyone into a panic frenzy.
The murder of Sajid Itowala seems to have made Mohan run out of luck. He created fantastic stories; he liberally reported himself to the Police. And in a bizarre mockery, he visited Itowala’s mother regularly expressing sympathy.
After his arrest he made a dramatic escape plunging the investigations into murder case. The Police launched a highly publicized manhunt. In a strange turn of events, during the entire episode, he was kept by a senior police officer who was an Aide De Camp to Taskforce on Corruption Chairperson Max Nkole.
His co accused, who have real money, attempted to keep a distance from Mohan. But their case was spoiled by famous lawyer of wheeler Dealer, Nicholas Chanda. In a period of 5 days he had persuaded them to part away with US$100,000.00 so that “the case can go away”!
By the time Shabir and Idris learnt that “you do not do a deal on murder” it was almost late. They got a real lawyer in Bonaventure Mutale SC, their case was a nut one and they were highly exposed by their role.
THE MURDER, THE PLOT AND THE MOTIVES
Despite the drama, the corruption and numerous attempts, the trial got underway and 28 witnesses testified exposing the murder plot.
When the trio was found with a case to answer, they and their conspirators went to work.
This case has been is being driven by powerful forces from both sides. Will Justice be hard to find? Will the family of the murdered victim who yearns for Justice succeed while Itowala’s killers pursue methods of making a travesty of the case?
Judge Gregory Phiri has helped unravel the case.
The Patel brothers had a business conflict with Itowala over a Pakistan chemist hired by the brothers for their paint business. Itowala, who ran a rival paint business, poached the chemist. So began the bitter rivalry that ended up in the death of Itowala.
So far 28 witnesses testified making a case. The Patels sought to punish their rival. A sum of US$250,000.00was released to Lusaka Lawyer, Frank Tembo.
Frank Tembo is said to have recruited Mathew Mohan to fetch killers to “punish” Itowala.
On the fateful day, Mohan lured Sajid to his death trap at house no. 1 Ngulube Road, Woodlands near the Brazilian Embassy. Mohan with a “coloured fellow’” named Shaun and others then proceeded to manhandle and later kill Sajid in cold blood in broad morning daylight in his vehicle.
Unfortunately there were too many witnesses. From the painter on the roof in the neighbouring yard to the caretakers at the house, it wasn’t going to be long before Mohan was caught.
Sajid had also managed to send an sms fearing for his life and identifying where he was.
Judge Gregory Phiri also cited lawyer Frank Tembo as an accessory to the murder. Other than collecting the prize money for Sajid’s head, Frank Tembo met Mohan at Pamodzi Hotel immediately after the murder and drove him to Chongwe to drop the murder weapon.
Judge Phiri also told of the involvement of the Police in the murder and fingered specifically the CID section and condemned their sinister activities in and around the murder they were tasked to investigate..
Mohan Mathew was determined to walk from this bungled case. While the family attempted to thwart corruption activities from the suspects, it became increasingly difficult to keep pace with who would either succeed to bring the perpetrators to Justice or the evil plotters who were determined to subvert the course of Justice.
Recently the family has been asking. Why Mohan is regularly let out of Prison? Prison authorities state that Mohan was only let out to meet his family when the old man, Mr. Mathews had a devastating stroke. Mohan was allowed to see him in Hospital and at their home in Woodlands.
But why is Mohan regularly trafficked to Police Service HQ even when the Police ought not to be involved at this stage? Why is he meeting the Police now in the middle of the trial? Why have there been pre-trial meetings between those that investigated the case and a suspect who has been put on trial? What’s the relationship between the Inspector General of Police and the defense lawyer Bonaventure Mutale SC? Is the testimony by Mohan coordinated between the Police and defense lawyers?
Why was the IG, the staff that investigated the case, and others keen to scandalize Robert Simeza? Why was Simeza nearly arrested on Motor vehicle theft charges on the pretext that Mohan gave Simeza the car?
The only thing that saved Simeza was that he had credible documents and collaborated story of how he acquired the in 2006.
Where these activities against Simeza orchestrated to coincide with Mohan’s planned and scandalous testimony?
The suspicious events bring more questions than answers.
On Monday 18th October 2010, Mohan appeared in the High Court to give his defence. He began with a fantastic story that links prominent Lusaka lawyer, Robert Simeza to the murder!
The plot is simple, if the prosecutor is involved, the case is tainted and the DPP should discontinue the trial, free the accused and help begin another wild goose chase.
Now, Robert Simeza was hired by the DPP persuaded by and on behalf of the Itowala family to bring the case to the level it has. Simeza thwarted attempts by the Police to willfully bungle the case. He pursued a prosecution that linked evidence, collaborated witness and brought confidence and integrity to the case. He is said to have spurned numerous corrupt offers to bungle the case.
He also demolished attempts by investigations officers to bring false testimony by exposing their lies during trial. He seemed to have earned rights to be harassed by perpetrators of the scheme.
So the attempt to smear him with dirt, make the DPP call the case a mistrial, so that the suspects can walk could only succeed if a life was not lost. Especially if the testimony is coming from a discredited person as Mohan.
ROBERT MBONANI SIMEZA
Why Robert Simeza?
As prosecutor, he is the soft target to attempt to scandalize and collapse the case.
In their wicked plot, Robert should replace Frank Tembo and the responsibility shifted away from the Patels to the Rattis.
Simeza was called at the last minute to defend Annuiti Ratti. Ratti had “fled” the country in 2003 but his co-accused, former ZNS Commander, Lt Gen Wilson Funjika was jailed for corruption. When Ratti came back to Zambia in 2008 lured by the TaskForce on Corruption, he was promptly arrested.
He came back to Zambia on the understanding that he had a deal with The Taskforce on Corruption. Upon his return he realized that his deal with the Taskforce had collapsed. He hired various lawyers including Bonaventure Mutale (the current lawyer for Mahan).
Towards 2009, the family after spending “huge sums” of money abandoned Mutale and asked Simeza to pursue the case.
Simeza immediately found a lot of rot. His client informed him that he obtained bail before High Court Judge Philip Musonda. Ratti stated that to this effect, he had even paid K100million cash bail four months before as required by the Court.
Simeza later learnt that there was no bail granted by Judge Philip Musonda. He rushed back to the client to find out who claimed to have paid the bail money into court?
It turned out to be Mathew Mohan. Simeza promptly wrote to Mohan to return the K100million to Mr. Gopal Ratti. Mr. Gopal Ratti is the father to Ratti and had spent up to US$1million to attempt to secure his sons freedom.
It is for this reason that after the murder, Mohan kept on giving Police leads and urged them to search the deceased home because the Patels and Sajid were fighting over the money. He kept on saying that Sajid had the money in the house.
Police indeed searched Sajid’s home on the strength of the tip from Mohan and any recoveries have never been made public or disclosed.
Mohan had come on the Ratti case promising to end the prosecution if he was given money by the family. He claimed that his “friend” (Charles Kafunda) was the one handling the case. It is understood that up to US$1million was released for this cause through Sajid Itowala. The Ratti family couldn’t trust Mohan after the K100million debacle. In fact, the murder took place at Mr. Ratti’s house which they were trying to sell.
But the money didn’t reach the Judges. And Mohan was excluded from the money by Itowala. This seems to be the principal motive driving Mohan against Itowala.
So when Mohan heard the story that the Patels were willing to pay anyone who was willing to ‘waste Sajid’, he jumped on the idea.
It emerged that Mohan was motivated to “sort out” after he was cut off from the US$1million.
Sajid Itowala collected the US$1million released to him to help Ratti walk from his case but the money never reached Principle Resident Magistrate Charles Kafunda.
Simeza ignored the corruption that had taken before he took the case and put a stop to the corruption and pursued Ratti’s case judiciously. Ratti was however convicted.
But Mohan will try to implicate Simeza and shift the attention from the Patels to the Rattis and from Frank Tembo to Robert Simeza. He will also attempt to link his fellow murderer Shaun to Simeza.
It is yet to be seen how much weight will be attached to Mohans statement?
Mohan will attempt to scandalize the trial and the primary target would be Robert Simeza who they wish to portray as a lawyer that should have declared interest owing to “his relationship with Mohan”. The attempt will also include attacks on individual judges that were known to associate with Sajid Itowola.
AS the case progresses, forces that are involved in this murder will try to bungle, scandalize and cause a major forgery to attempt to cause the DPP to discontinue the case.
This case will cause serious repercussions to many if the drama is allowed to play out in this fashion and the case maybe lost to crooks.
But the serious should see the cheap ploy that Mohan wishes to engage to avoid the inevitable.