Last defence witness testifies in MK53m wildlife crime involving Zambian national

The third and last defence witness testified in the MK53 million wildlife crime case involving Zambian national, Kelby Roy Malambo.

The Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Court, which is presiding over the matter, has since given state prosecutors and defence lawyers 14 days to make final submissions, which will be part of the basis for judgement.

The witness, Kylian Mulumba, also a Zambian national and driving a taxi between Lusaka and Chipata, testified on Friday, telling the court that “he came to know and meeting Malambo for the first time on 28 February, 2021”.

Suspected wildlife criminal

Malambo, who started defending himself on 8 March this year, was found with 22 pieces of raw ivory, weighing 64.905 kilograms and valued at about MK53 million. He was arrested at Mwami Border Total Filling Station in Mchinji in February, 2021.

He faces three charges, which include; being found in possession of specimen of listed species, dealing in government trophy and importing specimen of listed species without producing to a customs officer a valid permit.

Mulumba told the court that he was just hired by “a certain man” who said he had goods to deliver in Chipata and begged that he pay upon arrival.

“On our way, this man was communicating with a friend. When we reached Chipata, this man told me that the friend he was communicating with, will give him money to pay me. Near Mwami boarder, the man met his friend who, I learnt, was Malambo, a shop operator.

Apparently, Malambo did not have money to pay me. That man then dropped his goods on Malambo’s shop and promptly left for Malawi to collect money, promising to come back soon. When I came back at Malambo’s shop much later, hoping that I would collect my money, I was told he had been arrested in Malawi,” Mulumba said, in part.

In cross examination, Mulumba said he can only remember seeing that the goods he helped “that man” carry to Chipata, were two sacks and a laptop bag. He stated that he does not know the relationship between Malambo and “the man” and the reason the accused was arrested in Malawi.

Last week, the second witness, Moses Richard, also a Zambian national and working as a watchman at Malambo’s shop in Zambia, gave an account before the court, which suggests that his boss was “tricked” by a man known only as Steve.

On 8 March, Malambo, who is actually the first witness of the defense, also gave an account which, among others, points to facts that he was not the owner of the items, that he was just asked to bring the items to Malawi and that he did not even know the items because they were sealed in sack bags.

Meanwhile, after the defence closed their case with witness Mulumba, the court said it will advise the parties on the date for judgement.

All those offences Malambo committed are contrary to the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 2017.

Malambo, 47, comes from Livingstone City in Monze District in Zambia.

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