Witness in Kapoko trial claims he was threatened by investigators

Witness in Kapoko trial claims he was threatened by investigators

A WITNESS has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he was threatened and intimidated by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigators to testify against former Ministry of Health human resources and development officer Henry Kapoko and 10 others accused of theft.
Gift Kamwala, assistant accountant at the Ministry of Health, claimed that Gibson Chizanga and Oscar Chipoka, investigators from ACC, threatened to lock him up if he refused to testify against Kapoko and his co-accused.
Mr Kamwala, who is a State witness, was testifying in a trial within a trial, in a matter in which Kapoko and his co-accused are charged with theft, theft by public servant and money laundering involving over K6 billion.
A trial within a trial came about after Essau Banda, one of the accused persons, objected to arresting officer Lazarus Chiponda’s attempt to submit into evidence a warn and caution statement allegedly obtained from him after being intimidated, threatened and induced.
“In fact, the court should know that throughout the interviews at ACC, the threats have always been that they would get my properties and arrest me if I don’t testify against Kapoko,” he said.
Mr Kamwala said in examination-in-chief led by defence lawyer Kelvin Bwalya that he was summoned to the ACC offices on several occasions in an attempt to solicit information from him which would implicate Kapoko and others.
He said investigators wanted him to give a statement that Kapoko gave him money, part of which he used to build a house and to buy a motor vehicle.
Mr Kamwala said each time he was called to appear before the investigators, he feared that he would be arrested because it was indicated that he would be arrested and be put in custody if he did not testify against Kapoko.
He said a warn and caution statement was administered to him after he refused to testify according to the investigators’ instructions.
He said it is not true that he begged with the investigator to become a State witness so that he could implicate Kapoko and others because it is the investigators who took him to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Magistrate Exornobit Zulu adjourned the matter to October 8 for a ruling on the trial within a trial.

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