Detailed legal battle for Nevers Mumba’s bail application
After Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda read the four charges against Dr. Nevers Mumba which are wilfully failure to follow government procedure in receiving and disbursement of money from a private company donated to the Government of Zambia and three counts of abuse of authority of office by awarding contracts to carpet, repair electricals and build a Deck at the Zambia’s High Commission residence in Canada, Dr. Mumba denied all the charges.
Makebi Zulu of Ferd Jere and Company told the court that the defence team had some preliminary issues to raise and asked the court for permission to file the submissions and give the state enough time to respond. The defence has since been given one week to file and the state a week to respond.
Sakwiba Sikota State Counsel applied for Bail on grounds that Dr. Mumba was of fixed abode, a famous person who can’t disappear, a former Vice President and a leader of the largest opposition party. Mr. Sikota said with such information it was impossible for Dr. Mumba to be a flight risk.
Sikota said Dr. Mumba was known by almost all law enforcement agencies even by voice.
Mr. Sikota said though not necessary, Dr. Mumba was ready to provide sureties if the court so wished.
OBJECTION TO BAIL
The drama started when one prosecutor who identified himself as a Mr. D. Simwinga said Dr. Mumba had propensity to flee the country because he refused to give his Fingerprints at the Police. Simwinga cited section 17 of the Police ACT and further told the court that for the police to deny Mumba bond, it was evidence enough to deny him bail because the state would suffer prejudice.
Simwinga also cited a case of the People versus Oliver Irwin of 1993 in the Law Development Report.
Another defence Lawyer Sunday Nkonde also State Counsel told the court that it was wrong for the state to use section 17 of the Police ACT because the Police was under the Executive and had nothing to do with the Judiciary.
Nkonde also argued that there was no propensity for Dr. Mumba to flee the country because the joint investigating team has been investigating him for more than ten months and he has never fled.
He further argued that Dr. Mumba is already on bail in two other cases in the Copperbelt province.
SIMACHELA ZAZA (STATE ADVOCATE)
In his objection to bail, Chief State Advocate Simachela Zaza told the court that in the case of the People Vs Oliver Irwin. The High Court guided that there were four factors to be considered in granting bail.
He cited the factors as the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence to be adduced, the independence of the sureties and the independence of the witnesses and the prejudice if the accused is not granted bail including the prejudice to the state if the accused was granted bail especially that Dr. Mumba was famous.
Counsel Sunday Nkonde then said the court should never entertain the Prosecution’s notion that the famous the person the less the chances of granting him bail. Nkonde said the opposite was actually true.
Sakwiba Sikota took on Zaza and told the court that it should not allow the invention of new laws in court. Sikota told the court that the state should invest a lot in research because they seem not to know what case laws they are citing.
Mr. Sikota said the case of Oliver Irwin of 1993 that the state cited was a Murder case that is purely non bailable and the charges that Dr. Mumba were all bailable offences.
Mr. Sikota further told the court that the prosecution has failed to prove to the court that Dr. Mumba can not present proper sureties because the defence had not yet presented the sureties in court as such the argument was premature.
On witnesses, Mr. Sikota said it was not possible for Dr. Mumba to interfere with witnesses because he had not done so in the ten months he had been under investigations. He said the state had failed to produce evidence that Dr. Mumba had interfered with witnesses whom he does not even know.
On propensity to flee Mr. Sikota said section 17 of the Police Act was not even supposed to be brought in.
Making ruling, Magistrate Banda said the state had failed to argue their case because it failed to produce any evidence and granted Dr. Mumba bail of KR 30000 in his own recognisance with two working sureties and seniors in public institutions.
From the observer point of view, the prosecution had geared to make sure that Dr. Mumba was denied bail.