LUSAKA magistrate Lameck Mwale says he will not just be 'rubber-stamping' what the defence and state agrees outside his court.

Magistrate Mwale sounded the warning yesterday after a state prosecutor Macquin  Zaza told him that he had liaised with defence lawyers  Sakwiba Sikota and Bonaventure Mutale and had agreed to adjourn the case involving former mines minister Maxwell Mwale which explained their absence from court.

This is in a case where Mwale is charged with abuse of authority of office and being in possession of property suspected to be the proceeds of crime. Mwale is jointly charged with one of the directors of  Zhongui International Mining Industry Group Limited, Charles Shi.

Charles faces one count of corrupt practices with public officer contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that Mwale on dates unknown but between May 1, 2009 and August 31, 2011, abused the authority of his office by facilitating the issuance of mining licences to Zhongui International Mining Industry Group Limited, in breach of the issuance of mining licences procedure.

Earlier, Zaza told the court that the state was not ready to proceed with trial because the witnesses who were lined up were out of town.
"We sincerely apologise to the court and both accused persons for the adjournment," he said.

But magistrate Mwale, who asked why he should just rubber stamp what was agreed outside court said he could not allow such an application if wanted.
The magistrate has since adjourned the case to December 24, 2012 for mention while trial will continue on January 15, 2013.