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Lubinda Refuses To Take Plea In US $230,000 Corruption Case

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Lubinda refuses to take plea in US $230,000 corruption case
Lubinda Refuses To Take Plea In Us $230,000 Corruption Case
Given Lubinda
Lubinda refuses to take plea in US $230,000 corruption case

PF ACTING vice-president Given Lubinda has declined to take plea in a matter where he is accused of illegally obtaining US$230,000 from a Chinese company and using part of the money to acquire land in Kingsland City.

Kingsland City is part of Lusaka’s Forest 27 situated in the eastern part of the capital city and sits on the aquifer.

Lubinda wants the Constitutional Court to determine the legality of the Economic and Financial Crimes Court at subordinate court level and whether the enactment of the said division was in conformity with Article 123 of the Constitution.
Appearing before magistrate Stanford Ngobola, the former minister of justice said the allocation of his case before the financial crimes court was discriminatory.

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Lubinda, 59, of Plot 21841/M Hillview Park, Chalala is facing four counts of possessing property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Allegations in the first count are that Lubinda on March 3, 2018 received US $50,000 from China Africa Cotton Limited suspected to be proceeds of crime.

In the second count, Lubinda is on February 2, 2019 alleged to have received US $100,000 from Qingdao Ruichang Cotton Industrial Company Limited suspected to be proceeds of crime.

He is in the third count alleged to have received US $80,000 on December 23, 2019 from Qingdao Ruichang Cotton Industrial Company Limited suspected to be proceeds of crime.

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And in the fourth count, it is alleged that Lubinda on March 15, 2019, disposed of US $50,000 which was suspected to be dirty money to Sunshare Investment as part-payment towards the purchase of a plot property no. C1,56 at Kingsland City in Lusaka.

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Before Lubinda could take plea, his lawyer Makebi Zulu asked magistrate Ngobola to refer the case to the superior court as the Economic and Financial Crimes Court had discriminated against the accused administratively.

He said the Constitution provided that divisions at the subordinate court shall be prescribed in relation to Article 123 of the Constitution.
“The provision says jurisdiction and composition should be prescribed and the same has not been done in the case. All persons are equal before the law and creating special courts is unconstitutional as it goes against the principal of equality. Any person facing criminal charges needs to stand at the same footing at the bar of justice,” Zulu said. “The Constitutional Court should interpret Article 128 to determine whether the institution of the Economic and Financial Crimes Court (EFCC) is in conformity with Article 123.”
In response, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) prosecutor Tyson Mudenda said the accused was appearing before the subordinate court which is an established court at law.

He said the administrative decision to establish the EFCC as a sibling of the High Court does not raise an issue for the matter to be referred.
“There is no prejudice against the accused. Allowing such types of applications is abusing the Constitutional Court. As the fact stands, there is no question relating to the Constitution that must be determined. The application is grossly misconceived and should be dismissed,” said Mudenda.

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And Martin Mayembe argued that the issue relating to the Economic and Financial Crimes Court was an administrative arrangement by the chief justice under Article 133(3) of the Constitution.

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He said the chief justice under his powers established the said court in the High Court which would hear appeals from its sibling before the subordinate division in accordance with its mandate.

“Matters before the subordinate court shall be appealed in the High Court. Arguing that this court is the Economic and Financial Crimes Court is misleading. The EFCC is administrative and the subordinate court has power to hear cases just like it does with GBV and juvenile cases,” said Mayembe.

“The issue of the constitutional determination is neither here nor there and should be dismissed.”
In response, Zulu said the argument by both parties showed that there was a question to be determined and to clarify whether the said court could be classified as the Economic and Financial Crimes Court.

“The administrative enactment of the Court contravenes the Constitution. The issue has nothing to do with prejudice but the Constitution. These potent arguments on both sides ought to find themselves in the Constitutional Court. The administrate classification of the division of the subordinate court ought to be determined,” said Zulu
Magistrate Ngobola adjourned the case to May 20.

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Source – Zambianobserver.com

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