FORMER defence minister George Mpombo yesterday told the Ndola Magistrates’ Court that he has a state-of-the-art wardrobe where he used to keep his firearm under lock and key.
This is in a matter where Mpombo, 61 a farmer of plot number 10, Maranatha Farm in Chiwala area of Masaiti, is charged with one count of failing to secure a firearm contrary to section 31(1) of the firearms Act cap 110 of the Laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that on dates unknown but between December 1, 2015 and January 19 this year, in Ndola, Mpombo, a former defence minister, being a person in lawful possession of a Norinco 9.9 millimetre firearm, serial number 202329, failed to secure the weapon to avoid it getting into possession of a person not lawfully entitled to use it.
Ndola principal resident magistrate Obbister Musukwa in the last sitting found Mpombo with a case and put him on defence.
When the matter came up for defence yesterday, Mpombo told the court that as former defence minister, he was conversant with the rules of keeping firearms safe.
“Your honour, I bought this gun in Kanene Enterprises in Lusaka on December 4, 2004. I had no problem, no mishap because as former defence minister, I’m very conversant with the rules of keeping safe firearms. Your honour, the cardinal part in securing a firearm is to keep it under lock and key and this I have done over the period. I have a robust top of the range wardrobe. On the other side of the wardrobe, you can keep 15 suits, then in the middle there are two huge mirror glasses,” Mpombo told the court.
“The wardrobe has four special compartments where I keep my computers, monies and other valuables. Outside, there are four drawers and I must add that there is a locking system. In one of the special compartments, I used to keep the pistol. I made sure the lock to the wardrobe was completely locked up, not even my wife had access to the key. I was walking with it. It is a very strong wardrobe, Your honour not those ones you can get at Main Masala market, this is a proper one.”
He told the court that he only discovered that the lock to the wardrobe had been tampered with after coming from church on Sunday.
Mpombo testified that after discovering that the firearm was missing, he instituted investigations and found the gun at Chiwala Secondary School.
Mpombo’s lawyer Chimuka Magubwi then informed the court that the defence had closed the case.
Magistrate Musukwa set May 3 for judgment and extended Mpombo’s bail.