Court releases Chita Lodge director on K20,000 bail
Chita Lodge director James Chungu has been released on a K20,000 cash bail.
Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda on December 30, 2019, detained Chungu, pending ruling on the State's application to revoke his police bond for allegedly interfering with a witness.
Chungu and former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Commander Eric Chimese are charged with five counts of abuse of authority of office and money laundering relating to properties in Ibex Hill and Lilayi.
During trial, a Zimbabwean builder, Tendai joe Masaka, testified that Chungu sent him K700 in August 2019, on Airtel money and advised him to flee the country because the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) officers wanted to arrest him because he had details of the house he built in Ibex Hill.
Arising from Masaka’s testimony, deputy chief State advocate Gamaliel Zimba applied that Chungu's bond be revoked for allegedly interfering with a witness whom he purportedly gave K700 so that he can leave the country.
He said the State found it worrisome that Chungu asked the witness to leave the country, saying if not curtailed, there was a possibility of interference with State witnesses.
Zimba urged the court to consider exercising its discretion by way of cancelling Chungu’s bond.
But the defence, through lead counsel Kelvin Bwalya Fube, said the State's application was misconceived and an abuse of authority.
The defence submitted that the court should throw out the application, saying Chungu has not conducted himself in a manner to warrant cancellation of his bond as there was no evidence for the court to follow.
When the case came up for ruling before magistrate Chanda on December 30, one of the defence lawyers, Bwalya, applied for an adjournment because Lt Gen Chimese was unwell and not before court.
But before granting the adjournment, magistrate Chanda noted that there was nothing binding Chungu as there was no police bond or bail.
Magistrate Chanda remanded him in custody until ruling is delivered on confirmation of the revocation of his police bond which she adjourned to January 14.
But after hearing Chungu's lawyers on bail application in chambers, magistrate Chanda on Thursday granted him a K20,000 cash bail and ordered him to provide two working sureties who are bound in the like sum but in there own recognizance.