Top lawyer acquitted in Shoprite saga


THE Lusaka Magistrates Court has acquitted prominent Lusaka lawyer Lewis Mosho of all the 43 charges leveled against him by Shoprite Holdings in a trial that lasted almost five years.

High Court deputy director Joshua Banda, sitting as Chief Resident Magistrate, quashed all the 43 charges Mr Mosho was facing, ruling that the evidence Shoprite had advanced during trial had been manifestly inconsistent, inconclusive, unreliable and inherently weak.

During the marathon trial, Shoprite called over 40 witnesses from Zambia and South Africa but on Friday last week, the court ruled that there was no merit in the case against Mr Mosho and consequently acquitted the lawyer of all the 43 counts.

The Magistrates Court ruled that Mr Mosho had no case to answer on all the 43 charges the State had accused him of, saying: “Shoprite evidence has throughout the trial been manifestly inconsistent, inconclusive, unreliable, and inherently weak and the case is dismissed on all the 43 counts.”

Shoprite’s pursuit of Mr Mosho began in 2011 when the chain store obtained a court order in the Kitwe High Court, freezing the Lusaka lawyer’s personal bank accounts and those of his law firm, Lewis Nathan Advocates.

But in February 2012, the Lusaka High Court discharged and reversed the order and Mr Mosho immediately demanded damages against Shoprite for wrongful freezing of his bank accounts.

Shoprite in turn reported Mr Mosho to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and he was arrested and charged with 43 counts of theft and money laundering and his bank accounts and passport were again seized.

Mr Mosho at the time had commenced a separate action in the Lusaka High Court challenging DEC over the seizure of his bank accounts which the High Court had earlier discharged, and the court held that the DEC seizure of his accounts was wrong and ordered the commission to lift the seizure.

In 2014, Mr Mosho applied to the High Court for an order that DEC should release his passport and the commission was ordered to immediately surrender the document which was confiscated under the direction of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which was at the time headed by Mutembo Nchito, now suspended.

Mr Mosho, when contacted over his acquittal, said he was happy that the matter had finally come to an end and that the truth had come out that the charges were not only false but malicious.

Mr Mosho said the 43 charges leveled against him by Shoprite were nothing but a vicious campaign which he said was orchestrated to cripple and malign him.

“I am happy that the truth has now been seen and that the charges brought against me were false, malicious and part of a vicious campaign orchestrated by Shoprite, and their cohorts to smear my reputation.

‘‘I am pleased that Shoprite’s fraudulent and dishonest dealings against innocent tax-paying Zambians and shareholders, which they sought to conceal by falsely accusing me, would soon be exposed to the world.

I will always work tirelessly to ensure that dubious foreign investors comply with our local laws the same way we are expected to do in their countries,” Mr Mosho said.