The condition in which our judiciary finds itself is intolerable and unacceptable.
It is not acceptable that the entire Judiciary should be placed in jeopardy on account of the K18billion loan obtained by the defunct Zambian Airways whose directors are Mutembo Nchito- the current Director of Public Prosecutions, Fred Mmembe the Editor of the Post Newspaper and Nchima Nchito.
It is not acceptable that the three who exhibited such arrogance and temerity as to walk out of the sitting of the High Could should be the basis on which the Judiciary should suffer ignominy.
On Friday Mutembo Nchito the DPP shunned the entire Law Association of Zambia by refusing to appear before them on charges of professional misconduct.
This is indicative of the character and disposition of the individuals who are driving the tribunal.
We recall that in the Supreme Court judgment on the tribunal the reasoning for the majority judgment read,” On the ground of irrationality, which is referred to as Wednesbury unreasonableness, we are satisfied that bearing in mind the authoritative position of His Excellency, it would be illogical and unreasonable to hold that he did not receive credible information as President for him to act as he did. He is the overall authority on everything. His sources are exclusive to the public domain and must be impeccable.”
By definition impeccable means unsullied, flawless and indeed unimpeachable.
How can individuals who walk out of a court, in conduct that is not only reprehensible but a ground for disciplining them come anywhere near that description?
More importantly the three can not be described as impeccable sources by any stretch of imagination and as rightly pointed out by Judge Hilda Chibomba it was common knowledge that the three have lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging Judge Mutuna’s ruling thereby making them an interested party clearly with an interest to serve in the matter of the tribunal.
It is not fair that the entire country should suffer a disarray in leadership of the judiciary in order to serve the interests of three individuals whose conduct the high court found to have amounted to fraudulent misrepresentation.
The argument that the state is fighting corruption is baseless because the foundation of the tribunal has been roundly questioned by all well meaning individuals and institutions.
The judiciary is being pushed from pillar to post in a matter which is very clear and straightforward.
As we have said before this concerns delinquent debtors who are not prepared to own up to their responsibility to pay back public resources that they have used.
It is not good enough to cite technical arguments in order to pay back money that was borrowed ostensibly with an intention of paying back. Many Zambians have been taken to court and have suffered judgements because they borrowed for businesses that failed. At the moment the CEEC is engaged in an exercise of collecting on all outstanding loans. Farms have been seized and auction, assets have been seized and auctioned and individuals have been prosecuted for failing to pay back. Why we ask should Zambian Airways be different? Why should they enjoy favour including institution of a tribunal because of money they borrowed and used? It is not even from the DBZ alone that they have borrowed money, records at an appropriate time will show that there was money borrowed from the pensions fund, there was money sequestrated from National Airports Corporation and even more money owed to Finance bank in the amount of US$4 million.
People who owe such vast sums of money cannot be called impeccable and anywhere else would have indeed been subjected to criminal prosecution because the offence is clearly defined in the laws of Zambia
In our view therefore the Supreme Court edict must be observed and Zambians will stand ready and with very keen interest to hear the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court of Zambian Airways directors.