For Immediate Release
REPORTS ON NULLFIED PARLIAMENTARY SEATS BY THE HIGH COURT
The Judiciary has noted the concerns raised by the Public and Stakeholders in the Electoral process following the Notice on Disqualification of Candidates whose seats are nullified on account of corruption issued by the Electoral Commission of Zambia dated 31st July, 2013.
The Judiciary wishes to state that it stands by the Law as provided by Section 104 (6) and (7) of the Electoral Act of 2006 which states:
Where it appears to the High Court upon trial of an Election Petition that any corrupt practice or illegal practice has been committed by any person in connection with the Elections to which the Election Petition relates, the High Court shall, at the conclusion of the proceedings, prepare a Report stating the evidence given in the proceedings in respect of the corrupt practice or illegal practice;
The names and particulars of any person by whom the corrupt practice or illegal practice was, in the opinion of the Court,
Provided that the Court shall not state the name of any person under this paragraph unless the person has been given an opportunity of appearing before the Court and of showing cause why that person’s name should not be so stated.”
And Section 104 (7) states,
The Registrar shall deliver a copy of every report prepared by the High Court under Sub Section 96) to …. .
The Commission; and The Director of Public Prosecutions
As the Provisions of the Law indicate, the mandate to prepare Reports at the conclusion of Proceedings in an Election Petition lies with the High Court and specifically the Hon. Judges who handled the particular Petition. The Registrar of the High Court has no mandate to prepare the said Reports as his/her role is simply to deliver the Reports.
The Judiciary wishes to state however, that where there is an appeal to the Supreme Court as the case was in most of the 2011Parliamentary Election Petitions, the Judgment of the Supreme Court reigns supreme and the Judiciary is of the considered view that the requirement to render the said Report by the High Court is overtaken.
It should be noted that Section 104 (6) and (7) of the Electoral Act No. 12 of 2006 does not extend its application to the Supreme Court. Therefore, there is no requirement by the High Court to render a Report to either the Electoral Commission of Zambia or Director of Public Prosecutions after pronouncement of a Judgment by the Supreme Court. It should also be noted that every Judgment of the Supreme Court is binding on all Institutions including Electoral Commission of Zambia and the general public. Consequently any person can freely access Supreme Court Judgments.
Date 8th August 2013
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
The Judiciary of Zambia