A former drug convict has testified in the K1.8 million drug scandal that has entangled Lusaka Magistrate Kunda Tantameni and two senior court officials.
Beatrice Saili, a businesswoman of Everest in Lusaka has told court that on November 2, 2017 upon arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport from India she was arrested for being in possession of ephedrine which had bought in India for re-sale in Zambia.
Saili told the court that the officers found 34 kilogrammes of ephedrine worth over K1.8 million and apprehended her.
The officers confiscated the drugs, passport, two phones and money amounting to US$300.
She has testified that when she was brought to court instead of her matter being heard in the open court, she was taken to a small room and her case was heard in the library by a Magistrate Tantameni who is a suspect in the missing drugs case.
Saili narrated that two other men were present during the secret trial who included a prosecutor and a court interpreter referred to as Felix Mkandawire and Francis Mphanza who have also been arrested in connection with the missing drugs.
She was jailed for two years but was later pardoned on December 25, 2017.
In this matter, Tantameni is jointly charged with Mkandawire, Mphanza and Didie Kangwa a senior clerk of court with three counts of abuse of authority, removal of property under lawful seizure and stealing by persons in public service.
In count one, it is alleged that Tantameni and Mphanza on November 8, last year, in Lusaka being persons employed in the public service as Magistrate and senior public prosecutor respectively, jointly and whilst acting together, did use the position of their respective offices to obtain property, profit or benefit for themselves or another.
In count two, it is alleged that Mkandawire, Mphanza and Kangwa on November 8, last year in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together knowingly and with intent to hinder or defeat the process, did conceal 34.0 kilograms of ephedrine valued at K1, 870, 000. The ephedrine was taken under the process of authority of the court of Tantameni.
And in the third count, it is alleged that Mkandawire, Mphanza, Tantameni and Kangwa between November 8, 2017 and December 30, 2017 in Lusaka, being employed in the public service as court interpreter, senior public prosecutor, magistrate and senior clerk of court respectively, jointly and whilst acting together did steal 34. 0 kilograms of ephedrine.
The drug was valued at K1, 870,000 the property of Government of the Republic of Zambia which came into their possession by virtue of their employment.