A NOLLE prosequi entered by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito (now suspended) in favour of a University of Zambia don who killed two people has been challenged by an inquest that determined that the don should be charged with murder and manslaughter.
Mutembo issued the nolle before the inquest was conducted.
However after the inquest the coroner, Sothi Zulu, found that there were too many inconsistencies and that evidence pointed to murder and manslaughter.
And now the relatives of the dead men have accused police of dragging their feet in implementing the coroner’s findings. They have written to the Acting DPP to prosecute the matter in the interest of justice.
Mr Nchito entered a nolle prosequi in favour of Mr Gershom Chishimba, a lecturer at the University of Zambia, after he was arrested and arraigned for allegedly shooting and killing former National council for Scientific Research national coordinator Greenford Mucheleng’anga and Elias Chalwe of Nakaiba fishing camp in Shibuyunji in December 2013.
The now suspended DPP entered the nolle prosequi at commencement of trial before the inquest was conducted.
But the coroner has ordered that Mr Chishimba should be charged with one count of murder and one of manslaughter because of the serious inconsistencies in the facts presented. Initial statements suggested that Chishimba shot the two who were walking ahead him by accident as he stumbled into a ditch, but the coroner found that While Mr Mucheleng’anga was shot in front on his thigh, Mr Chabwe was shot in his right arm and thigh.
Mr Mucheleng’anga, of house number 30 Waterfalls along Airport road and Mr Chalwe were allegedly shot and killed by Mr Chishimba while they were hunting birds in Kafue Floods near Blue Lagoon National Park.
According to a report from forensic pathologist Dr Viktor Telendily, Mr Mchelenganga and Mr Chalwe died of haemorrhagic shock (bleeding due to gunshot wounds).
And forensic ballistic expert from Zambia police Matilda Busiku’s report indicated that the gun which was used to shoot Mr Mchelenganga and Chalwe was the one Mr Nchelenganaga was carrying and that the one Mr Chishimba was carrying was faulty and mal-functional.
The matter was reported to Shibuyunji Police Station where Mr Chishimba was detained and charged for two counts of murder and the file was transferred to Lusaka Rural CID unit.
Mr Chishimba was taken to the Lusaka Magistrates Court where he was appearing for explanation of the charge and mention before principal resident magistrate Obbister Musukwa pending his committal to the High Court.
It was at this point that Mr Nchito entered a nolle prosequi, according to powers vested in him.
Now relatives of Mr Mchelenganga have appealed to Zambians to apprehend Mr Chishimba and surrender him to the police for prosecution following the findings of the inquest.
They told the Daily Nation that the inquest finding which was delivered by coroner Sothi Zulu on February 4, 2015 found that Mr Mr Chishimba committed murder and man slaughter.
“The verdict of the coroner is very clear. It simply means that Mr Gershom Chishimba should be re-arrested and brought before the courts of law for prosecution. It is not only for the police to so do, any citizens of this country should execute citizen’s arrest on Mr Chishimba anywhere he can be found. You just have to look for two or so people and take him to the nearest police and say this man is wanted in court,” one of them said.
They accused Mr Nchito of arbitrary telephoning a Division Criminal Investigations Office and ordered that a police docket be taken to his office, which they said was not a correct procedure.
When he received the docket, Mr Nchito instructed Lusaka Division Headquarters Divisional Prosecutions Office.
According to the letter from Mr Nchito, he wrote; “I have reviewed the evidence on this docket and I instruct that an inquest be conducted to rule out misadventure before any prosecution is contemplated. Further, the families to the deceased persons should be called to your office to explain to them why an inquest has to be conducted in this matter.
“In view of this decision, a nolle prosequi in favour of the accused Gershom M. Chishimba has been prepared and attached to this letter to facilitate the conduct of an inquest by the court,” he said.
In the nolle prosequi, Mr Nchito said he was exercising powers vested in him to enter in favour of Mr Chishimba, the accused of two counts of murder contrary to section 200 of the Penal Code Chapter of the laws of Zambia.
“Now these presents are to authorise the entry in the record of proceedings that proceedings against Gershom Chishimba are discontinued by my direction pursuant to the powers vested in me by section 81 (1) of the criminal procedure code chapter 88 of the laws of Zambia.”
The relatives of the late Mr Mchelenganga’s said under a normal procedure, it was supposed to be the police officers who would take the docket to DPP’s office for advice. They said on the day a nolle prosequi was secured for Mr Chishimba, he was taken to court in a land cruiser and single picked among other detainees at Lusaka Central Police and presented in court.