Tuesday, 9 December 2008
XAVIER CHUNGU ON K500 MILLION FINE
FORMER Zambia Intelligence chief Xavier Chungu brandishes the ruling MMD symbol when he was sandwiched by armed police officers who escorted him from the Lusaka magistrate court where he wen for court proceedings.
XAVIER CHUNGU HAS BEEN FINED K500 MILLION FOR GOING IN EXILE
FORMER Zambia Security Intelligence chief Xavier Chungu has appeared in a Lusaka magistrate court where he was ordered to pay K500 million or in default face a maximum of six months imprisonment with hard labour
This is for Contempt of Court after Mr Chungu skipped court proceedings when he went into self-exile fours years ago.
In mitigation, Chungu’s lawyer Nicholas Chanda said the only reason Chungu stayed away from Court proceedings was because he had intelligence information that his life was in danger and had to do something to avoid regret.
During the court proceedings, Mr Chungu remained calm in the accused box. He looked firm and walked with confidence when leaving the court room and smiled occassionally. He was heavily guarded by the state police who were in both uniform and plain clothes.
Mr Chanda said the intelligence information indicated to be true and that was how his client decided to preserve his life and has now come back.
He said Chungu had not come back through the State and that his coming was not a myth or secret.
Mr Chanda said Chungu decided to present himself to the authorities and that the State did not effect an arrest on him.
Mr Chanda said it was not Chungu’s intention to disregard or abscond from Court proceedings without cause when he had attended other cases diligently in the past.
Mr Chanda also appealed to the Court to be lenient with Chungu on the bail amount because by Zambian standards, it was too exorbitant and that the global economy had affected everyone. He said his client had not earned asets for a long time.
High Court registrar Jones Chinyama made the order after Chungu who was re-arrested last week.
“Under section 132 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the Court was required to demand the recognizance sum that was granted or order a term of imprisonment,” Mr Chinyama said.
In his ruling after hearing both parties, Mr Chinyama said that Mr Chungu was in breach and therefore the Court would proceed to pass its ruling in provision with the law.
“I order a forfeiture of K500 million in 14 days from today (Tuesday) inclusive of weekends or in default six months Imprisonment with hard labour which is in line with the provision of the law,” he said.
Mr Chinyama said the reason why bail was granted to Chungu four years ago was to enable him enjoy the comfort of coming from home and not to give him an opportunity to run away from Zambia.
Mr Chungu has remained in custody until the K500 million was paid to the court.
Mr Chinyama said the reasons for Chungu’s absence from Court proceedings were anonymous to the Court and that the Court would not have let him leave because court proceedings were disrupted as a result. The magistrate said Chungu’s conduct was unacceptable.
Earlier, State prosecutor Fred Malambo told the Court that Chungu was granted bail on March 14th 2003 to the sum of K500 million in his own recognisance with two sureties.
But on June 1, 2004, Chungu jumped bail when he was supposed to appear before Court. This made he prosecutors to apply for a bench warrant, which was issued and remained in force until Chungu was re-arrested after four years.
Court adjourned Chungu’s case hearing to December 22.