What explanation is there for the Judiciary to fast track the K30billion Zambian Airways case involving the Development Bank of Zambia?
Why should this appeal leapfrog the infamous Judicial Tribunal chaired by Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa- which was occasion by the same people being given preferential treatment.
Indeed, what effect will this appeal have on the entire debacle of the Tribunal which has cost the country dearly.
Quite apart from this consideration, a quick perusal of the records at the Supreme Court shows a backlog of cases that go back as far as seven or more years for civil cases and many more years for criminal cases including appeals from convicts on death row.
What is so special about this case that it must receive priority treatment?
There may be nothing to worry about but the coincidence between the appearance of the Zambian Airways Director in the Supreme Court and the virulent attacks against former President Rupiah Banda is a matter of deep concern.
The same people leading the attack against RB are the same people in this case involving the theft of Billions of Kwacha.
The former President is being subjected to a media trial by people who have already been found culpable of fraudulent misrepresentation involving colossal sums of money.
Apart from the DBZ case there are other matters outstanding including the debt of US$4million to Finance Bank. This debt is may have been forgiven after a nolle Prosequi was extended to the Banks Chairman Dr. Rajan Mathani by DPP Mutembo Nchito. This transaction is not only suspicious but raises very important legal question of propriety and legality the of course the possible abuse of authority.. This transaction is highly questionable and will be examined more closely at some future date when the atmosphere of probity, integrity and observance of the rule of law comes back to this country.
Not only that there are many other cases that are still to be resolved in courts of law concerning Zambian Airways, one of them being the debt that the same group owes the National Airports Corporation where the Government appears to be dragging its feet.
Equally Government effort to take this DBZ matter out of court at a time when DBZ had secured a favorable judgment has left a sour taste.
In the specific case of DBZ it will be remembered that the initial matter was adjudicated in 2012. In fact Judge Nigel Mutuna passed judgment on 19th April 2012.
The judgment was very clear.
He stated “I accordingly enter judgment in favour of the Plaintiff, Development Bank of Zambia, against the three Defendants, namely, JCN Holdings Limited, Post Newspapers Limited and Mutembo Nchito, in the sum claimed of K14 billion. The said sum is to attract interest as agreed in the undertakings calculated at 182 days GRZ Treasury Bill rate, plus 8 per cent margin or a floor rate of 20 per cent per annum, whichever is higher, from date of writ of summons to date of judgment. Thereafter, at the current bank lending rate as determined by Bank of Zambia.”
Since this very clear judgment was passed a number of very serious judicial issues have developed. These have included the unprecedented suspension of Judges and subsequent appointment of a Tribunal chaired by a Malawian judge.
All this has been done by the executive, putting into question the principle of the separation of powers.
Instead of the Judicial Service Commission or indeed the Judicial Complaints Commission undertaking the relevant investigations and recommending disciplinary action to the President, it has been the President who has taken the leading role in the matter.
That is why it is worrying that even before the matter of the Tribunal is concluded the appeal has been fast tracked. The outcome of the appeal will determine the relevance or otherwise of the Tribunal.