GBM’s assault case begins

THE case in which Kasama Central member of Parliament Geoffrey Mwamba was arrested for assault has taken  a new twist following contradictory statements between the one recorded at Matero Police station and the other  recorded by an arresting officer.

According to a statement of complaint by Collins Mundai recorded at Matero Police station and presented in the Lusaka Magistrate Court yesterday, Mwamba was not named as the person who allegedly assaulted Mundai.

Presenting the statement in court, during cross examination, Matero Police principal investigations officer Flywell Mbale said Mundai simply indicated that a known person assaulted him without stating that it was Mwamba.

This is in the case in which Mwamba was arrested and charged with one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Mundai, who was operations manager at Arizona Marketing and Distribution, a company owed by Mwamba.

This was when the matter came up for trial in the magistrate court yesterday.

“He (Mundai) said in his statement that he was pushed which caused him chest pains and headache,” Mr Mbale said.

The statement in the investigation book was read after the prosecution failed to block it from being read, stating that it would not be fair to present it in court.

One of defence lawyers, Sakwiba Sikota said the court should not allow evidence to be suppressed.

Mr Mbale also read in the statement that the assault incident happened in the office of the company chairman (Mwamba) contrary to what the investigation team was told by Mundai that the incident occurred in the pool office.

He said Mundai had led three truck drivers to Mwamba’s office to address matters relating to fuel.

Mr Mbale said when Mundai entered Mwamba’s office there was misunderstanding with Mwamba over fuel and he pushed Mundai and told him he was wasting his time. But he insisted that Mundai was assaulted according to what he was told by Mundai during investigations and that he charged Mwamba based on that and the medical report.

He said during his investigations he only managed to find two witnesses because the environment was not condusive a as most people, although they confirmed to him that Mundai was assaulted, were not willing to come out in the open.

Mr Mbale said he conducted “good” investigations but that if people were not willing to be witnesses police officers could not compel them to do so.

Mr Mbale said the two witnesses he managed to find refused to give him their names. He also could not describe them.

Mwamba’s  lawyers argued that Mr Mbale was not telling the court the truth because the two statements were not collaborating.

One of Mwamba’s lawyers Makebi Zulu contended that Mbale was lying and that there was a possibility that he did not visit the scene of assault to ascertain information he was given.

He argued that the fact that Mundai did not name who allegedly assaulted him meant that he could have been assaulted by someone else and not Mwamba as it was alleged.

And lawyer Mutakela Lisimba said the witness could not confirm whether a qualified medical officer physically examined the complainant.  He said even the medical report purported to be from Chingwere Referral Hospital was doubtful because the date stamp was invisible and the receipt attached to it showed that it was from Community Health Centre.

Another lawyer Martha Mushipe said the investigation team did not ascertain the authenticity of the medical report and that what the witness presented in court were lies. Earlier Magistrate Prince Mwiinga rejected an application by the defence lawyers not to allow the medical report Mr Mbale presented in court to be part of the evidence.