The Supreme Court has fast tracked the appeal by defunct Zambian Airways Directors who are contesting a High Court judgment that found them culpable of obtaining K14buillion from the Development Bank of Zambia by fraudulent misrepresentation.
In a fast tracked appearance that took observers by surprise, the company Directors Mutembo Nchito, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Fred M’membe Editor and Owner of the Post Newspaper and Nchima Nchito appeared in the Supreme Court yesterday.
The appeal has overtaken the Judicial Tribunal proceeding which arose from a decision by President Sata to suspend three Judges and appoint a Tribunal after the trio complained against the judges.
The trio complained about procedures that resulted in a ruling by Judge Nigel Mutuna who found Mutembo Nchito the DPP liable for criminal prosecution for the fraudulent misrepresentation, for the K14billion which has now mushroomed to more than K30billion inclusive of interest.
The trio appeared before a Bench comprising of Justices Florence Mumba, Florence Lengalenga and Muyunda Wankie who adjourned the matter to next week 12th February when the right panel to hear the appeal will have been constituted.
Meanwhile there is no word when the supreme court will deliver a verdict on the appeal of Attorney General Mumba Malila who opposed the grant of Judicial Review against three judges that were suspended by President Michael Sata.
The three Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda and High Court Judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga.
The ruling stopped proceedings of tribunal appointed by President Michael Sata chaired by Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa. The Tribunal was to investigate the alleged misconduct of the three Judges.
However in their application for Judicial Review the Judges alleged that the action taken by the President incompetent to appoint a tribunal to investigate a Puisne Judge regarding a judgment delivered in a civil case when an appeal was pending in the Supreme Courtwas unreasonable.
They also contended that Mr Sata erred in Law and usurped the Statutory Powers of the Judicial Complaints Authority and those of the Chief Justice when he purported to assert the role of an investigator on complaints against the duo who were judicial officers because that was the preserve of the Judicial Complaints Authority.
“His Excellency also erred in Law and usurped the Constitutional functions of the Supreme Court when he appointed a tribunal to investigate them when the appeal in the said case is effectively subjudice,” the lawyers said.
They said the decision to appoint a tribunal to investigate the applicants and suspending them respectively was premised on improper motive and characterised by political consideration and actual bias without proper investigations but anchored on unsubstantiated reports by people enjoying particular relationships with the President.
And Judge Kajimanga, in his affidavit stated that he received his suspension letter on April 30 without indicating reasons and yet during a press conference on the same day the President made public allegations that he interfered with the retrieving of alleged cases from their fellow judge, Albert Wood and misbehaved jointly with Justice Phillip Musonda and acted incompetently.
“That at no material times had the allegations against me ever been lodged or made known to the Judicial Complaints Authority as prescribed by the Constitution as read together with the Code of Conduct. I am advised by my counsel that the President prematurely invoked the provisions of the Constitution by establishing the tribunal as the complaints authority of first instance,” Judge Kajimanga said.
And Judge Mutuna, in his affidavit also stated that he was not given any reasons for his suspension and that the action was premature and against the Law.
Judge Mutuna invited the Court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction to review the whole court record in the Supreme Court where a notice of appeal had been duly filed.