THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has acquitted religious affairs minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili after the State offered no evidence against her.
This is in a case where UPND president Hakainde Hichilema cited Rev Sumaili for contempt of court.
When the case came up for continuation of trial, State advocate Chimbeka Sakala told senior resident magistrate Ireen Wishimanga that the State had analysed the evidence and the law in relation to the charge and offered no evidence against Rev Sumaili.
“Having taken over proceedings as officers of the DPP, we had an opportunity to analyse the purported evidence that was relied upon which gave rise to the current proceedings. We have also analysed the law in respect of the charge the accused person is facing,” Sakala submitted. “I now wish to inform the court that on behalf of the DPP, the State henceforth, offers no evidence against the accused Godfridah Sumaili. I am most obliged.”
And Rev Sumaili’s defence lawyers said they had no objection to the State’s decision.
Ruling on the State’s offer of no evidence against the accused, magistrate Wishimanga acquitted the minister.
“Having heard the State and there being no objection, the accused person is acquitted,” said magistrate Wishimanaga.
Last week, the State took over the case and Rev Sumaili pleaded not guilty to the charge.
This was after the defence withdrew the application to object to the State’s taking over of the case.
Hichilema had earlier objected to the defence taking over the case before Rev Sumaili took plea.
The case was under private prosecution by Keith Mweemba and others.
Hichilema, who was at the time facing a treason charge, complained about Rev Sumaili’s comments that he pushed President Edgar Lungu against the wall when he refused to accept his presidency.
But the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi in the treason case.