The Lusaka High Court yesterday, finally, held a public sitting at which the conviction of former special assistant to President Frederick Chiluba, Richard Sakala announced by the post newspaper last year in editorials was formally delivered.
Last year, the Post newspaper ran two separate editorials stating that Sakala’s appeal to the High Court which was being heard by Judge Flavia Chishimba, had failed.
The editorial published in August and in November last year indicated that the Judge had rejected all grounds of the appeal.
However, a search conducted at the High Court showed that judgement had not been passed. A subsequent appeal to Judge Chishimba for the Post to be held in contempt went without response and was still before the Judge when the matter was pronounced yesterday. It is not clear what will happen to the contempt application.
Among other findings by Judge Chishimba was the fact that Mutembo Nchito who was a private lawyer at the time of the prosecution was in order to have prosecuted without regard to the fiat by the director of public prosecution Mukelabai Mukelabai.
Soon after the judgement police swung into action and wanted to detain Mr. Sakala to go and serve the sentence. He was only saved by other court officials who indicated that Sakala had already served his sentence.
In another court Judge Florence Lengalenga upheld a state application to stop Mr. Sakala from producing two letters showing that President Levy Mwanawasa had interfered in his prosecution. The letters show that the DPP, Mr. Mukelabai Mukelabai, had dismissed Mutembo Nchito from prosecuting Mr. Sakala, but this instruction was reversed by President Mwanawasa who asked Nchito to proceed.
Judge Lenga Lenga ruled that allowing the two letters to be produced would be prejudicial to state interests.
Asked to comment Sakala said his team of lawyers would study the two judgements and decide on the way forward.