Friday, September 1, 2023

Zambia's T7WSS Private Jet Mystery: Five Egyptians Freed Through Nolle Prosequi

In another even more interesting turn of events in Lusaka, five Egyptian and one Zambian detainees in the infamous Gold Gate case, who were formally accused of espionage in less than a week, were released on Friday after the Zambian Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) entered a “nolle prosequi”.

According to the DPP, the five Egyptian citizens are Walid Refaat Fahim Botros, Mounir Shaker Gerges Awad, Mohamed Abdel Hak Mohamed Gouda, Yasser Mokhtar Abdel Ghafor and Michael Adel Micheal Batros while the Zambian citizen is Mulungu Osward Diangamo.

However, two of the Egyptians were re-arrested on lesser charges and granted bail, according to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), which suffered a significant blow to its reputation on Friday.

The four crew members have also been released.

The rest of the Zambian defendants have not been released and will stand trial in the High Court on charges related to espionage, it seems.

The Zambian defendants who are still involved in this ordeal are Shadreck Kapsa Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu, Jim Belemu, Robson Moonga, and Fransic Maluba Makai-Mateyo. 

In a statement to the Zambian media, Kasanda denied that there was a gold scam in the first place insisting that he was a businessman.

It is another mystery how the charges have changed drastically from espionage to nolle prosequi within days.

I must point out that the Zambian whistleblowing Facebook page “Zambia Whistleblower” predicted that this would happen, revealing more alleged information unofficially every time since the decision of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to refer the matter to court.

According to Zambian Whistleblower’s latest post, Egyptian authorities are using leverage to resolve the matter and allow the detainees to leave the country with the jet, leaving the money.

 This leverage seems to be related to the medicine shortage in the East African country. It seems that Egypt and Zambia were in talks for a $70 million deal in which Egypt would supply Zambia’s health sector with medicine and medical supplies.

There is no smoke without fire. A search of Egyptian press archives reveals that talks about exporting Egyptian medicine to Zambia have been ongoing since 2022. In May 2023, the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) and the Zambian Ministry of Health held further talks.

This is the leverage that Egypt has gained an upper hand.

A nolle prosequi fate

It is the first time I have been introduced to the legal concept of nolle prosequi. Originally a Latin term that means "I am unwilling to prosecute," nolle prosequi is a legal term that refers to a prosecutor's decision to voluntarily dismiss charges against a defendant. A nolle prosequi can be entered at any time before or during a criminal trial, and it does not constitute an acquittal.

There are many reasons why a prosecutor might enter a nolle prosequi. Some common reasons include insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, reaching a plea deal with the defendant and the defendant is not a threat to society.

One of the biggest differences between a nolle prosequi and a dismissal is that a dismissal is an order from the court that the charges against the defendant are dropped. A nolle prosequi is a decision by the prosecutor to not pursue the charges.

Another difference is that a dismissal is usually permanent, while a nolle prosequi can be reopened by the prosecutor at a later date.

Therefore, a nolle prosequi is not the same as a release pending investigation, dismissal, or acquittal. It simply means that the prosecutor is not currently pursuing the charges, but they may do so at a later date.

In the case of the Zambian detainees, the nolle prosequi does not mean that they are innocent officially, simply means that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at this time.

Is it over !? I do not know for real.

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