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 2010-10-19 02:24 pm Back to NEWS
Police impound Simezaís Benz
Lusaka lawyer Robert Simeza 

Police have impounded Lusaka lawyer Robert Simeza's Mercedes Benz CLS car, in circumstances that have been described as sheer state harassment.

Well-placed sources close to the investigations yesterday revealed that Simeza has been targeted by virtue of him being former Finance Bank chairman Rajan Mahtani's defence counsel.

"From what is going on itís very clear that the state is harassing Simeza. As you are aware his colleague John Sangwa is already appearing in court after he was charged with altering a forged document and now they want to charge Simeza with theft of motor vehicle and failure to account for the same vehicle," the source said.

"What happened was that on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 around 09:00 hours, police officers stormed the duo's law firm located at The Coliseum along Bwinjimfumu Road in Lusaka's Rhodes Park residential area. The six police officers demanded that Simeza accompany them to Police Service Headquarters."

The sources said the police officers also demanded that they pick Simeza's Mercedes Benz CLS, registration number CLS 789.

"Whilst at the police headquarters they told Simeza that they were investigating reports that the said vehicle was stolen from South Africa. But Simeza simply stated that this was a local vehicle imported around 2004 or 2005 by Sobi Industries. And that when one of the partners for Sobi Industries was relocating to Dubai he decided to sell the vehicle and that's how Simeza bought it under favourable terms and was allowed to pay for it in instalments," the source said.

"The police said he should accompany them to the alleged importers of the vehicle at Sobi Industries and the officials at Sobi Industries confirmed that they imported the vehicle through Marunouchi which is now Southern Cross Motors and that they were aware that it was later sold to Mr Simeza. After that the junior officers returned to service headquarters to give their report. 

But Simeza became alarmed when he saw that certain police officers he worked with in the Mathew Mohan murder case when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) appointed him as private prosecutor were the ones directing the issue of investigations of his vehicle."

The sources said Simeza seemed uncomfortable because it was these same officers that were believed to have orchestrated his dismissal as private prosecutor although he stayed on as a friend of the court.

"So Simeza demanded that these officers should excuse themselves from the case involving his vehicle because it appears it was being driven by vindictiveness. They demanded that Simeza parks the vehicle but he demanded that they go to Southern Cross Motors. They went there and Southern Cross Motors confirmed that the vehicle was imported by them and even gave them a copy of the vehicle's details," another source said.

"At this stage Simeza was hopeful that his vehicle would be released when these details from Southern Cross Motors emerged. But the police changed that in fact they were investigating the case of possession. They now wanted to establish how Robert came to own the vehicle. They demanded that he provides a valid letter of sale, proof that he paid transfer taxes to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and a valid white book."

The sources said the case is purely that of state-orchestrated intimidation against Simeza.

"There is an instruction to deal with Mahtani effectively and the decision by Simeza and Sangwa to represent Mahtani seems to have attracted this wrath on themselves. It appears that they are standing in the way to crush Mahtani and junior officers who have issues with Simeza and Sangwa are now sneaking in their private agendas," the source said.

"This is an attempt to scare Simeza. So right now as we speak, the vehicle remains impounded at Police Service headquarters despite the fact that the vehicle was properly imported and even the Interpol section at Police headquarters has cleared the vehicle. In fact, there is even no report of the vehicle having been stolen anywhere in the world. Even here in Zambia there is no complainant but despite all this, police are insisting that they have to verify."

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