FIVE suspects charged with aggravated robbery and the murder of a Lundazi guard have pleaded not guilty to all the two counts.

The suspects, Nota Chimbwe, Frank Kajilo, Komani Tembo, Boyd Mkandawire and Michael Mwale who were acquitted and rearrested for the same offences took plea before High Court judge Flavia Chishimba.

In count one, it is alleged that on an unknown date but between February 16 and 17, 2012, in Lundazi, the accused jointly and whilst acting together and while armed with a firearm, stole K603,847,000 and a Samsung GT cell phone all valued at K606,847,000, from Charles Nyirenda and that the stolen property belonged to Bux Jabir Ali.

In count two, the accused are alleged to have murdered Charles Nyirenda on February 22, 2012.

After entering pleas of not guilty in respect of all the accused persons, judge Chishimba adjourned the matter to February 11, 2013 for commencement of trial.

And during the presentation of the jail delivery, Eastern region prisons commanding officer Christopher Kajimbala said transport was the main challenge facing the prison service in the province.

He said the current vehicles were old thereby posing a risk to both the officers and the inmates.

He said the security situation in prisons was okay and that government had started procuring uniforms for inmates.

Kajimbala said the prison service had 1,509 inmates by 06:00 hours yesterday.