A state witness in the case in which Lusaka lawyer Keith Mweemba is charged with attempting to corrupt an officer spent last night in prison for contempt of court and perjury – lying in court.
Lovemore Cheelo, a purported forensic analyst working for Zambia Information Communications Technology Agency (ZICTA) is the same witness who is testifying against former Evelyn Hone College lecturer Clason Hamasaka.
Lusaka Magistrate Lameck Mwale sent Cheelo to remand prison yesterday afternoon for failing to answer and refusing to answer questions from the defence lawyers during cross-examinations. The defence team included lawyers Makebi Zulu, Gilbert Phiri, a Mr. Jonazi and a Mr. Lungu.
This is in a matter in which the state has charged Lusaka lawyer Keith Mweemba with attempting to corrupt an officer.
In his evidence in chief, Cheelo claimed he was a trained forensic cyber and computer expert with training from various institutions in Zambia and abroad.
But during cross-examintaions, the lawyers representing Keith Mweemba demanded original trade certificates for Cheelo to prove that he was really trained.
This prompted the magistrate to adjourn the matter to the afternoon to allow Cheelo produce his qualifications that he claimed he had to the court.
But when the matter resumed in the afternoon, Mr. Cheelo failed to produce certificates to confirm that he had studied Information technology at National Institute for Public Administration (NIPA) and other institutions as he earlier claimed. The defence lawyers saw this as a total disregard of the court order. (Contempt of court).
Cheelo was presented by the prosecution as the expert witness who analysed a recording on an IPhone. Prosecutors are led by Macqueen Zaza of the Anti-Corruption Commission
But when court resumed in the afternoon, Cheelo, failed to give satisfactory answers as to why he could not produce the documents.
Parallel information reaching the Watchdog indicate that even the name Lovemore Cheelo could be fake as this ‘gentleman’ is just an OP agent organised by DPP Mutembo Nchito to concoct evidence against people Ncito wants to jail for political reasons.
When asked by Makebi Zulu as to why he did not bring the documents Cheelo refused to answer, but kept on asking for protection from the court claiming the questions hinged on his future as he would be fired.
Mr. Zulu asked Cheelo also whether ZICTA director general Margaret Chalwe Mudenda stopped him from producing the documents. Cheelo again refused to answer.
He also refused to answer three more questions prompting the defence team to apply to have Cheelo remanded in custody. The defence cited article 1550 of the Criminal Procedure code.
The prosecution asked for an adjournment to seek the Director of Public Prosecution’s intervention but the defence objected saying the punishment was supposed to be meted there and then as the contempt was done in the face of the court.
Magistrate Mwale then imprisoned Cheelo for a night though the defence had asked for 8 days sentence as provided by the law and that even when he appears today, he would have to answer the same questions or go to jail again.
Cheelo is the same witness who testified in the case involving former Evelyn Hone College lecturer Clayson Hamasaka who is charged with possession of obscene material and presented the same qualifications that have now sent him to jail.
Mr. Hamasaka’s case was supposed to come up for ruling yesterday on the validity of the obscene materials.
Meanwhile Lusaka based investigative journalist Thomas Zgambo yesterday appeared in the Lusaka Magistrate court charged with possession of obscene material.
Zgambo could however not take plea because Magistrate Mikalile who the case was allocated to declared interest as she is presiding over a civil matter in which Zgambo has sued ZESCO Limited. Zgambo will appear on Friday 15/11/11 before Magistrate Lameck N’gambi.