Court frees Pondamali, but put on defence on another

Freelance journalist Wilson Pondamali has been put on his defence for possessing military pamphlets contrary to the Defence Services Act section 181.

Kabwe Magistrates court Maxwell Shiwanga yesterday established a prima facie case against Pondamali and consequently put him on his defence.

Pondamali was however acquitted on allegations of stealing a library book.

Delivering the ruling in Kabwe, Mr Shiwanga ruled that the two military pamphlets that were allegedly found in Pondamali’s possession were a property of the Ministry of Defence and that were restricted to defence personnel and their training institutions.

The court set September 9 as date on which Pondamali would commence his defence.

Pondamali would call three witnesses, defence lawyer Mulilo Kabesha said.

Meanwhile, Pondamali was acquitted on the charge of theft of a book belonging to the Kabwe Municipal council library.

The court ruled that the State had failed to prove the act of theft.

“Being in possession of the book which was discovered to have been missing 18 months earlier did not link Pondamali to the theft,” Magistrate Maxwell Shiwanga said.He also said there was no complaint of theft by the library and that the witness testified that loss of library books was an administrative matter.

Pondamali was detained on 16th July 2013 on suspicion of keeping seditious materials.

He was later slapped with two charges of theft of a library book contrary to section 272 of the penal code and unlawful possession of military stores contrary section 181 of the defence Act.

Pondamali said after the court session that he was looking forward to justice.

“I have faith in the impartiality of the courts and will remain hopeful that justice is delivered,” he said.