The Lusaka High Court (Economic and Financial Crimes) has dismissed the special Plea In Bar that was invoked by former Ministry of Health Head of Procurement Wilson Lungu and four others on account that they had been tried before and acquitted by the Magistrates Court on the same charges that the Anti-Corruption Commission had slapped on them.
Justice Hon. Mulife sitting together with Justice Hon. Yangailo and Justice Hon. Musona ruled that the Special Plea in Bar that the accused had invoked was dismissed as the Charge against the accused was not signed. The Court ruled that as a consequence, there was no criminal proceedings that was set in motion and this therefore rendered the acquittal null and void.
Brief facts in this matter are that on 19th January, 2021 a private lawyer by the name of Joseph Chirwa filed a criminal complaint in the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court against the following alleged accused persons, who include the directors of Honeybee Pharmacy Ltd:
Abjurarauf Abjurarrahim Motala
Zakir Hussein Motala
Dr. Chitalu Chilufya
Honey Bee Pharmacy Limited.
The complaint filed by Mr. Chirwa contained six (6) counts against the accused persons.
Later the same day the 19th January, 2021, the same lawyer Mr. Joseph Chirwa withdrew the complaint against the nine (9) accused persons above when he filed a Notice of Withdrawal of Complaint.
Despite the withdrawal of the complaint, the withdrawn case was allocated to Magistrate Hon. Chinunda Chiwaula. On 26th January, 2021 the Hon. Chiwaula delivered a ruling on the matter which had been withdrawn by Mr. Joseph Chirwa. In his ruling, the magistrate ruled that the accused persons were acquitted. The accused persons had never appeared before him nor had they ever taken plea.
The import of this judgement is that the accused Wilson Lungu and four others will now have to take Plea in the Subordinate Court. However, the Court gave them leave to appeal.