Police Briefly Detain Prosecutors Conducting the Murder Case of Sajid Itowala

Police last evening stormed Simeza Sangwa & Associate’s  law firm based on Bwinjimfumu Road, in Rhodespark, Lusaka and disrupted an official meeting called and attended by two state advocates from the DPP ‘s chambers, family members from Sajid Itowala, a member of Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and lawyers from Simeza Sangwa law firm.

The police officers from Police Service Headquarters who came in two vehicles and were openly brandishing guns, disrupted the meeting and demanded to pick the two state advocates, who are prosecutors in Mohan’s case. The Police demanded that the two advocates accompany them to the police station.

The state advocates refused to be treated in that manner and informed the officers that they were on official duties. A bitter argument ensued with the Police accusing the prosecutors of interfering with Mohan Mathew’s testimony given in court. The officers also accused the state advocates of fraternizing with Lusaka lawyer, Mr. Robert Simeza who they claimed was going to be made a suspect in the murder case soon.

The Advocates expressed shock at the allegations and explained that their meeting was a preparatory meeting for today’s trial and wondered why the police, who are part of the State’s case, should be concerned with the testimony of an accused person. They stated that if there were any concerns about the meeting, those concerns could not be addressed at the car park of a law firm but by their superiors since this was an official meeting.

The police officers then declared that they would proceed to arrest the prosecutors for what they claimed was interference with justice and took them to Police Service Headquarters for detention.

The two state advocates were then taken to service headquarters for a formal arrest. At the police station, it was discovered that the meeting the Police officers had interrupted, was a sanctioned official meeting called to take the serious concerns by family members of the victim – Sajid Itowala.

The meeting was called by the prosecutors to help them prepare for today’s cross examination and they needed to clarify certain information with Mr. Robert Simeza. Mr. Simeza was until recently a prosecutor in the case and a friend of the court. Mohan Mathews has also centered his defense on Mr. Simeza and certain Judges.

In another development, the DPP yesterday turned down an application by LAZ to appoint a member from the fraternity to join the prosecution team and help restore credibility to the case. The DPP directed that any concerns regarding the direction of the case should be shared with his prosecutors or be taken to court, hence the presence of a member of LAZ in that meeting.

Mr. Mohan Mathews and the Patel brothers, Idris Patel and Shabir Patel are accused of murdering Lusaka businessman and Cyclone Hardware Director, Sajid Itowala in July 2009.

On October 19th and 20th , 2010, Mr.  Mohan Mathews gave testimony in his in his defense that accused High Court Judges of corruption and linked the so called “Robert Simeza’s men” to the murder.

But Judge Gregory Phiri has ordered that Mohan should defend himself against the allegations made against him by the 28 witnesses that appeared before him. He directed that Mohan should also focus his defense on the matters and evidence that are before the court and not mention outsiders such as Simeza or the Judges.

Trial is expected to continue today in the High Court before Supreme Court Judge, Gregory Phiri who is sitting as High Court Judge. The state is expected to cross-examine Mohan Mathews.

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