Hapunda’s theft case kicks off without him having a lawyer

Brian Hapunda

Brian Hapunda

The Livingstone magistrate court has denied an application for adjournment in a case involving former Patriotic Front Southern Province Political Secretary Brian Hapunda.

Meanwhile, trial in the matter has commenced in the Livingstone magistrate court with Mr Hapunda appearing without his defense lawyers.

Mr Hapunda is facing five counts of obtaining money by false pretence, uttering a false document and making documents without authority using the name of the ruling party.

Mr Hapunda appeared before magistrate Edsen Shanduba for commencement of trial without his legal counsel and applied for an adjournment of his case to next week.

He told the court that one of his lawyers, John Kapepe of Mak Partners was committed with a civil case in another court while, Major Isaac Masonga of  KBF and Partners allegedly suffered an asthma attack earlier in the day.

But the state objected to the application after the court verified that no notice of an adjournment was given by the defense lawyers.

Making his ruling, magistrate Shanduba ordered for the trial to commence as the matter had dragged since February, 2013.

“Looking at the history of this case, the matter started in February 2013 and almost one year down the line, trial has not started for one reason or the other. The state is ready to proceed and so is the court and there has been no notice of adjournment from the defense therefore, I will not allow an adjournment today,” he said.

However, Mr Hapunda objected to the court’s ruling and appealed for more time to enable his lawyer Mr. Kapepe conclude with the civil case in another court before attending to his case.

But Magistrate Shanduba warned Hapunda not to challenge the court’s decision.

“Listen carefully, this is a court of law. I have already made a ruling and you do not challenge a ruling that has already been made. It’s either your lawyer will be informed or he will inform himself since he is aware of the court date,” he said.

And acting finance director  at Southern water and sewerage company Curtis Lungowe appeared as the first witness for the state.

Mr. Lungowe, 41 of House number 254 Riverside in Choma said on 24th May, 2013 he received a document carrying a PF logo soliciting for a donation which was not specified. He said his supervisor, Charles Shindaile, the acting managing director authorized him to process a payment of K2, 000 for the PF which was to be paid in Hapunda’s personal account.

Mr. Lungowe told the court that a cheque of K2, 000 was made and deposited in Hapunda’s account and there was no problem until police later visited him to enquire about the company’s dealings with the PF and Hapunda in particular.

The letter purported to have come from PF, a payment voucher and cheque in Hapunda’s name have since been tendered as evidence in court.

The matter has been adjourned to 27th December 2013 for continuation of trial and Hapunda has been warned to ensure that his lawyers are present on that date for continued trial.

Hapunda is in count one alleged to have on 26 February this year, with intent to deceive or defraud,  obtained a sum of K24, 000 from Inyatsi construction by falsely pretending that he was sent by the Patriotic Front Party to solicit for financial donations for campaigns for the Livingstone constituency by-election.

In count two Hapunda is said to have made documents without authority from the ruling party PF, soliciting for K2, 000 from Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO).

And in count three on 21st May and 24th May 2013, knowingly and fraudulently did utter a false letter to a Mr. Charles Shindaile the Managing Director for SWASCO.

Hapunda is in the fourth count said to have obtained money amounting to K2,000 kwacha from SWASCO pretending that he was sent by the PF to solicit for financial assistance for political party operations when in fact not.

In count five, Hapunda between 1 January and July 2013 with intent to deceive or defraud did obtain K11,000 kwacha cash from Bhukans Brothers pretending it was meant for political operations in the province when in fact not. / ZANIS