National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili has been found with a case to answer, after being accused of defaming Republican President Edgar Lungu.
It is alleged that between the 1st and the 12th of September 2019, Kambwili, with intent to bring hatred, ridicule and contempt to the name of the President, published defamatory material, in which he said:
“What business do you do with Valden Findlay? Because we see, when you go abroad, when coming out of the plane, the next person to come out is Valden Findlay. Now, the allegations by the people of Zambia and world over are that may be the Presidential trips and the Presidential plane is now being used to courier drugs.”
The state has since closed its case with a Zambia Air Force Gulfstream pilot Kamima Nyirenda, who told the court that he has been flying President Lungu since the day he was inaugurated, but has never seen businessman Valden Findley aboard the presidential plane on any international trip.
“I have been flying President Edgar Lungu from the time he was Minister of Home Affairs to the present day, but in all his flights at no time did I see Mr. Valden Findley on board,” said Mr. Nyirenda.
The Zambia Air Force One pilot added that despite the presidential aircraft being flown by a few other pilots he has always been part of the flight team and has never seen the aircraft carry drugs, trunks of money, or any unaccounted for money or property.
He further charged that the words as spoken by the NDC leader are malicious and defamatory in nature.
However, in a cross examination, defense lawyer Keith Mweemba argued that his client did at no time mention the Gulfstream aircraft, but meant a presidential aircraft, including the presidential Challenger.
Mr. Mweemba argued that the president has been flown by foreign pilots on international trips before and that his client did not talk about the Gulfstream or Zambia Air Force One.
He added that the president has not only been flown on the Gulfstream but many aircrafts have since been used, including private planes.
Mr. Mweemba asked if Captain Nyirenda has ever flown President Edgar Lungu to Israel but the captain declined to comment on the Israel trip, saying he has no knowledge of the president going to Israel.
The defense lawyer then asked Captain Nyirenda if he was aware that President Lungu at one point had picked up Mr. Valden Findley on his way back on from an international trip, but the captain said that he knows nothing of that incident.
The matter has been adjourned to February 15th 2021, for defense response following the record of a case to answer.