FORMER Armcor managing director, Mohammed Patel, has been found with a case to answer in a matter he is charged with theft of 20 motor vehicles involving more than K2 billion.

Patel was facing 78 counts of theft involving more than K2 billion relating to the sale of motor vehicles.

Ruling on whether Patel had a case to answer or not yesterday, chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda said he carefully read the testimonies of the 28 witnesses and also carefully read the submissions.

Magistrate Banda said Patel's lawyer Lubinda Linyama in his submissions observed that his client's name was misspelt adding that that misspelling rendered the indictment defective and therefore unlawful.

"Further, the defence noted and I agree with that point that the indictment has several counts missing. In any event, I do not agree with the defence that because of the defect in the indictment, then it is unlawful indictment, the defect is curable and causes no prejudice whatsoever," he said.

Magistrate Banda, however, said the indictment must be carefully and properly framed at all time.

"The prosecution must not leave anything to chance, otherwise the state risks spoiling or killing cases on these technicalities," he observed.

Magistrate Banda said his view was that the matter before him was a typical case where the accused should answer to the allegations that funds belonging to Armcor were used to buy vehicles which property was subsequently sold and money pocketed by the former managing director.

He then invoked section 207 of the Criminal Procedure Code and placed Patel on his defence.

And Linyama told the court that Patel would give evidence on oath and intended to call witnesses.

And magistrate Banda said he did not want the matter to go up to next year and set December 10, 2012 as dates for opening defence.