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 2010-10-21 07:31 pm Back to NEWS
Mohan complains of being used as a pawn
Murder accused Mathew Mohan 

Murder accused Mathew Mohan has complained that he has been used as a pawn in the case, when the actual murderers are walking freely.

Concluding his defence in the Lusaka High Court before judge Gregory Phiri on Tuesday, Mohan, who was asked by his defence lawyer Likando Kalaluka if he had anything more to say, claimed that he had been wrongly charged.

This is a case in which Mohan is jointly charged with Idris Patel and Shabia Patel with the murder of Cyclone Hardware managing director Sajid Itowala.

It is alleged that the three, whilst acting with others unknown, brutally murdered Itowala in July last year.

But Mohan said in his defence that he did not know who shot and killed Itowala.

“What I have to say to answer the question is that I have been wrongly charged for something I didn’t commit. And the perpetrators of this crime are enjoying their freedom outside. 

“I also feel very disturbed that I have been used as a pawn in this case,” Mohan said. “My Lord, the court will recall that in between the proceedings I received another state counsel, Sakwiba Sikota; at the time I was having issues of instructions with my lawyers, State counsel Bonaventure Mutale and Mr Kalaluka.

However, Mohan was guided by judge Phiri to go straight into giving evidence and avoid mentioning names.

“Again I will not allow hearsay. I don’t want two State counsels to be pointing at each other. Can we have formal evidence? That is why we have cautioned The Post newspaper that they should not be publishing hearsay. In fact, they are lucky that there was no official complaint from the state,” said judge Phiri.

Earlier in his defence, Mohan had told the court that while they were packed at Pamodzi Hotel, he saw a Toyota Rav4 belonging to Lusaka lawyer Frank Tembo. He said he also saw a Toyota Vitz with two gentlemen sitting inside.

He said he later got into his vehicle and drove to house number 1 Ngulube Road because the caretaker there had been calling him over a K50,000.

Asked why he was obliged to pay that money, Mohan said the caretaker always wanted an inducement for the time people spent at that house.

He said he later went home to prepare for a meeting with lawyer Robert Simeza. Mohan said he later got a phone call from Sean who told him that Simeza was ready to meet him.

“After around 19:30 hours, I drove to Mr Simeza’s place and I found Mr Chileshe, Mr Sean and Mr Simeza outside the main gate of his house. Mr Simeza instructed the guard to open the gate. I drove in and packed behind a Toyota Vitz.

“I came out and joined Mr Simeza, Chileshe and Sean. They were outside the gate because there was a truck from South Africa offloading pan bricks. So Mr Simeza and his boys Sean and Chileshe were witnessing the offloading of pan bricks,” Mohan told the court. “After about 15 minutes, Mr Simeza wanted me to go with him to the guest wing.

“In the Guest Wing, I told him that while we were at house number 1, the gentlemen didn’t allow me to get the US $150,000 and I explained to him that there was a fight which ensued. He said he told them to conduct themselves like that to ensure every penny was collected from Mr Sajid Itowala. Thereafter, Mr Simeza told me that annoyed him most…”

At that point, judge Phiri interrupted and guided that he would be very strict about hearsay because it was filtering to the media.

Mohan told the court that while they were sitting in the guest wing he learnt that Itowala had died. He told the court that the news of Itowala’s death disturbed him and when he expressed panic, Simeza assured him that everything was under control.

“At that point it came to my attention that Sajid Itowala was no more. I got totally disturbed and requested to know why, and what had happened. At that point Sean and Chileshe were called into the guest wing. And from what they said I gathered that Sajid was quite difficult to give them the money they demanded from him. I panicked and mentioned to them that I was very disturbed and asked: ‘What should I do next?’ It was at that point that I was assured by Mr Simeza that he was in control of everything and that I should not worry about it,” Mohan said.

Asked by Kalaluka what action he took afterwards, Mohan said he contacted the caretaker and informed him about the development.

“I went to the caretaker and explained to him that it has come to my attention that whatever transpired here ultimately ended up into someone losing his life. At that point the caretaker demanded that he be given more money because he had a big issue to cover up now. I told him that I would see him after a day.”

Mohan said the following day in the morning he received a phone call from the caretaker, requesting that the two of them meet at Yotamu Muleya Road near David Kaunda Technical High School. He said when they met, the caretaker explained that there was a painter and a guard next door who had seen the fight in the yard and they should be given something.

“I called Mr Simeza and explained to him that there was a situation at house number 1 Ngulube Road. Thereafter, My Lord, I just gave him caretaker a K200,000 that was spared in my pocket. And I mentioned that I would get back to him,” he said. 

“On the 22nd of July 2009 I called Sean and Mr Simeza and we agreed to meet in the evening at his premises. What came out of the meeting was that he, Simeza, gave me a million Kwacha to go and give to the caretaker.”

Asked again by Kalaluka what the use of the money was, Mohan responded: “Just to motivate the caretaker to sort out the painter and the guard so that they could keep quiet. I called Mr Mwiya Emmanuel and told him to find me on Ngulube Road. And I gave him a bunch of K10,000 notes amounting to K1 million which Mr Simeza had given me.”

Mohan said thereafter he proceeded back to the house. He said Simeza was then given to handle everything together with Rathi.

Mohan said on July 29, 2009, Rathi was picked up by police at Pamodzi Hotel for the murder of Itowala but was released the followng day.

“Thereafter, we proceeded with Mr Rathi to Pamodzi: Myself, his lawyer Mr Robert Simeza and G.K. Rathi himself. And he was told to pack up his luggage and wait for a ticket to be organised to go back to India immediately. Thereafter Mr Rathi went back to India,” Mohan said.

The case was adjourned to today and tomorrow for cross-examination.

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