…DEC offers him K600,000 compensation
STATE House had nothing to do with the framing of charges against embattled Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito because the charges of abuse of authority by Mutembo Nchito were raised with former President Michael Sata, who chose not to act on them, Civil rights activist Brebner Changala has revealed.
It was misleading and a deliberate distortion by the Post Newspaper to dwell on the drugs charge, which to them was the reason for the tribunal.
“This is completely untrue because there are many charges that have been brought against Mutembo Nchito. This tribunal is not about me, it is about Mutembo Nchito and the charges he is facing,” Mr Changala said.
He revealed that the Drug Enforcement Commission ( DEC) had offered him K600,000 and his sister Agness Kawandami K300,000 as compensation for their false arrest and detention on drug trafficking charges.
“Mutembo Nchito chose to enter a nolle prosequi, instead of a complete discharge against us in spite of all the evidence pointing to the fact that the drugs were planted on us. This was an abuse of authority or at worst incompetence.”
“It is true I spoke to a reporter from the Post Newspaper whose interest seemed to dwell exclusively on the drugs charge which the State in their wisdom had dropped. They have never written about the other charges against Mutembo, which I have raised, preferring to concentrate on the drugs charge, which has been removed,” he said.
It was therefore wrong, he said, for the Post newspaper to narrow the tribunal to the one charge of drugs where there was a point of contention, leaving the many other charges to which they have not offered any defence or explanation. There was an array of complaints of abuse of office against Mutembo Nchito.
The duo were arrested on 16th – 20th August 2013 on charges that they were in possession of 36.35g of ecstasy pills but it was later discovered that the medicine seized were actually vermox deworming tablets.
The DEC has since apologized for the injury to character and reputation, humiliation and ridicule they suffered.
The DEC has admitted that neither Mr. Changala nor Ms Kawandami had any psychotropic drugs, and that there was a swap at the Food and Drug Control Laboratory.
Although compensation has been offered the family is unhappy that Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito entered a nolle instead of a total discharge, in spite of the fact that it had been proved that the drugs they were arrested for were planted on them.
They expressed shock at a story published in the Post Newspapers yesterday which seemed to imply that he cleared Mutembo Nchito from the matter.
“It is a lie for the Post to claim that I revealed that State House used my name to frame charges against Mutembo Nchito.
The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) admitted of having framed him together with his sister Ms. Kawandami on 7 August 2013,” he said. He said the story in the Post that “IT WAS A LIE” that Mutembo Nchito planted drugs on him was a gross distortion of what he said and taken out of context.
“To suggest that I said that Mutembo Nchito never planted drugs on me is highly misleading,” he said.
He explained that at the point he (Mutembo) was entering a nolle prosequi he was fully aware that Changala had been framed and unfairly indicted.
“For him to enter a nolle prosequi instead of offering no evidence made him complicit either as an accessory before, during or after the fact. In short he misbehaved himself. It is for the DPP to state at which point he participated. In a nutshell, Mutembo Nchito’s conduct amounts to both incompetence and misbehaviour,” said Mr. Changala.
He said it was shocking that DEC and OP officers in an attempt to force him admit to drug trafficking charges, they drove him around Lusaka for a long time.
“It is a fact that I was driven around Lusaka by DEC and OP officials in a new Mercedes Benz in an endeavor to compel me to admit to the drug trafficking charges. The names of these Government officials are Mr. Silutongwe from the OP and Mr. Anderson Situmbeko from DEC. At this time, I was still in custody and they drove me round and round for a long time trying to coerce me to admit while knowing full well that I was innocent. That conduct in itself was mental torture to me,” said Mr. Changala.
“I have never at any point said Mutembo Nchito is innocent. My statement was to the effect that there is no malice against the DPP on my part hence the statement that if he is innocent, I would be glad if he was cleared.”
He also said at no time has he ever met with President Edgar Lungu or anyone from State House regarding the issues of the DPP or the tribunal.