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 2010-10-20 02:43 pm Back to NEWS
Judge directs Mohan away from bribery
FILE: Murder accused Matthew Mohan

Murder accused Matthew Mohan yesterday told Lusaka High Court judge Gregory Phiri that a judge who had allegedly been bribed with US $200,000 in order to grant bail to Lusaka businessman Anuj Kumar Rathi, who was convicted by the magistrate court for corruption charges, returned US $150,000.

And Mohan testified how Lusaka lawyer Robert Simeza’s ‘boys’ ordered murdered Cyclone Hardware proprietor Sajid Itowala to give them all the money he collected from Rathi’s father, a Mr. GK Rathi.

Meanwhile, judge Phiri advised Mohan to centre his evidence on the murder of Itowala and not on Simeza, the judge and magistrate.

This is a case in which Mohan is jointly charged with Idris Patel and Shabia Patel with the murder of Itowala. It is alleged that the three, acting with others unknown, brutally murdered Itowala in July last year.

When the matter came for continued defence yesterday, Mohan claimed that Lusaka lawyer Frank Tembo met him at Pamodzi Hotel last year where he had gone to meet Rathi’s father.

“Frank Tembo arrived with a big khaki envelope and said he received the parcel at his office at Corousel and he was told to give it to him. Frank Tembo mentioned that it was the US$150,000 collected from the judge and that on the balance, the judge needed some time to prepare it,” Mohan said.

Mohan said Rathi’s father received the money from Tembo although he did not count it.

On Monday, Mohan had told the court that Rathi’s father demanded a refund of the money after the judge refused to grant bail as earlier arranged. He said Rathi’s father threatened to report Simeza and the judge to the police and the Law Association of Zambia if the money was not paid back.

And Mohan yesterday narrated that on July 21 last year, he got up quite early and phoned a Mr Sean and Simeza several times before 08:30 hrs to agree that everyone should be there by the time that Itowala would deliver the bribe money. He said the idea was for him not to be alone while receiving the money from Itowala.

“That was the same time I called the caretaker (Mwiya) several times to ensure that all the people who were using those rooms were dispatched before our meeting. I instructed the caretaker to dispatch people at the house because of the US$150,000 we were supposed to count from there,”ť Mohan said.

“Myself and Mr Simeza agreed that there should not be a lot of people because they would get excited. I proceeded to Number 1, Ngulube Road. I was with my Discovery Three vehicle. When I arrived I found Sean and Mr Chileshe seated on the drainage pillar. Sean actually came to my vehicle while I continued hooting at the gate.”ť

Mohan said a Mr Chileshe then left to go and pick up an unregistered Toyota Vitz, metallic grey in color, which was normally parked at Simeza’s house.

“Because the caretaker lives at the servant’s quarters, it took him about 15 minutes to come and open the gate. By that time, Mr Chileshe came with the small car and parked it outside. I noticed people leaving the house. After a few minutes, I noticed Mr Mwiya, the caretaker, came and opened the gate. I drove in and parked facing the east at the back of the house. Then Chileshe walked in as we were expecting Sajid to come in a few minutes. Am not too sure about the time but Sajid called me between 08:00 and 09:30 hours to find out if we were at Number 1, Ngulube Road,” he said.

Mohan narrated that after a few minutes, Itowala arrived at the house because he was at Simeza’s house which is about 150 metres from his house.

“When Sajid hooted, the caretaker opened. When he drove in, two other gentlemen walked behind,”ť he said.

Mohan said he instructed Mwiya to remain at the gate because he did not want him to see them counting the money because he could have asked for a bigger share for counting the money at his house.

He said Itowala drove in and parked behind his vehicle facing the northern direction while speaking on the phone. Mohan said Itowala took about two minutes to come out of his vehicle while he, Sean, Chileshe and two other gentlemen were waiting to finalise on the money.

“After a few minutes, I talked to him and I agreed with him. As he was approaching the back of the vehicle, he opened the door and he was slanting to get an envelop at the back of the driver’s seat, at that point, the coloured gentleman pulled out a revolver from the back of his waist and pointed at me and told me to move away. While he was pointing the gun, Sajid tried to move forward. Mr. Chileshe swept him and he fell badly to the ground.”ť

Mohan said Itowala’s gun dropped when he fell on the ground. He said Chileshe and two other gentlemen continued hitting him.

Mohan said Sean grabbed Itowala’s gun when it fell and told him that they go to his house to collect all the money which he got from Rathi’s father.

“The other two gentlemen were brutally kicking and hitting him and that he was messing around with not just a senior lawyer (Simeza) but a very influential man in Zambia,” Mohan said.

“I tried to come in and asked Mr Sean. I said this was about collecting money and taking it to Mr Rathi. He mentioned to me that in fact Mr Simeza gave him clear instructions that it should not just be the US$150,000 to be collected but all the that Sajid collected from Mr Rathi.”

Mohan said Sajid broke down saying: ‘How could Mr Simeza do this to me?’ť

Mohan said Sean told him to go back to Pamodzi Hotel to assure Rathi’s father that the money was coming.

He, however, said he couldn’t move immediately because Itowala’s vehicle blocked him.

“While I waited, I noticed Chuntu taking a long rope which was hanging in a tree and a wire which I got to know as a DStv cable, Mr Sajid gave them a good fight because he was quite huge. None of us could match him but he was overpowered by those three, a Chileshe and another man they pushed him and lifted him and pushed him to the back seat of a vehicle. The slim tall gentleman (PW2) sat on him in the back seat while I was looking. Thereafter, Mr Chileshe jumped into the vehicle and gave him Sajid’s pistol while Sean drove towards the gate,” Mohan said.

He said he then drove to Pamodzi Hotel to meet Rathi’s father.

“At the UTH traffic lights, the VX took the right turn and I proceeded straight to Independence Avenue, turned into Church Road and went into Pamodzi Hotel. That was plus or minus 10:15 hours,” he said.

Mohan said it was agreed that he go to meet Rathi’s family members at the hotel were he was expected with the money back.

He later on phoned Simeza and narrated what had happened because it was not what had been agreed on the previous day.

Mohan said it was when he was still at Pamodzi Hotel that Frank Tembo arrived with a big khaki envelope which contained dollars.

And judge Phiri advised the media to be careful in the way they write their headlines from these proceedings, since what they say in their headlines excited people unnecessary.

“In fact it amounts to interference with proceedings,” he said.

Earlier, judge Phiri told Mohan to centre his defence on the murder of Itowala.

“Your client took us on a journey into adventure. He narrated how he and others went to commit a crime at Chainama Hospital. I was worried that the question of relevance was not addressed,” judge Phiri said.

He said he was saying so because it was not Simeza, Rathi or any other person who were arrested for Itowala’s murder.

“The defence therefore must center on the murder of Sajid Itowala. You are not here to testify against Mr Simeza or anyone else,” judge Phiri said, adding that Mohan should narrate why the court should acquit him.

Mohan’s lawyer Bonaventure Mutale said the guidance was duly noted but added that his client’s testimony on Monday was not a journey into adventure.

Judge Phiri said that was a journey into adventure and that he should narrate how they reported to the police.

At this point, Mutale sought the court’s indulgence to take further instructions from Mohan.

Judge Phiri briefly adjourned the matter and asked Mutale to approach his chambers after taking further instructions from Mohan.

Hearing continues.

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