DEC re-arrests Mahtani after state enters nolle
DR Rajan Mahtani and his co-accused were yesterday released via a nolle prosequi by the magistrates' court on a charge of obtaining credit by false pretences involving K6.5 billion, only to be rearrested on the same charge a short while later.
In this case, Dr Mahtani who is former Finance Bank chairman and David Peter Kamalarajan Kanaganayagam were alleged to have on dates unknown but between February 1, 2008 and February 29, 2008 in Ndola, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown in incurring the debt, obtained K6.5 billion from Finance Bank by falsely pretending that the money was working capital for Cladava Mining Limited (CML) when in fact not.
The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges. But when the matter came up for commencement of trial before principal resident magistrate David Simusamba yesterday, the court was informed that a nolle prosequi had been entered in respect of the accused persons.
In January, Dr Mahtani and Kanaganayagam asked the court to dismiss the criminal proceedings against them in this case. Dr Mahtani said his arrest, indictment and prosecution was an abuse of the powers
vested in the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and part of the continued scheme to harass, defame and tarnish his name and integrity locally and internationally.
Dr Mahtani also said his arrest was part of a well-orchestrated plan being managed under the aegis of the DEC with the help of other state institutions, in particular, the Bank of Zambia, whose ultimate goal was to destroy him personally.
Kanaganayagam told the court that his arrest was harassment because of his involvement with Dr Mahtani.
Ruling on the matter, magistrate Simusamba dismissed the application saying it lacked merit.
But a DEC insider yesterday said the entry of a nolle prosequi in this matter was a confirmation that they were having difficulties to proceed with the matter.
'This is just meant to buy time especially after the accused persons asked for a list of witnesses and their statements,' the source said. 'Does it make sense that we entered a nolle only to re-arrest them on the same charges. Anyway, the public will judge whether or not this is not an abuse of the law meant to harass, intimidate and fix a citizen.'