Speaker of National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini has been challenged to summon and prosecute Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo Nchito to Parliament for having lied during his ratification process, which is a serious criminal offence.
The challenge has been thrown by former Solwezi Central MP Mr Lucky Mulusa who said prosecuting Mr Nchito would serve public interest beyond the narrow aim of merely ensuring that the Speaker’s office was not brought into disrepute.
Commenting on the recent summoning by Parliament of two opposition leaders, UPND’s Mr Hakainde Hichilema and APC’s president Mr Nason Msoni, Mr Mulusa said before calling the two leaders it was important to remind the Speaker of a more serious criminal offence involving the DPP.
In a letter to the Speaker dated June 15 Mr Mulusa said: “You will recall Sir that about this time last year I raised the issue of Mr Mutembo Nchito, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) having lied to Parliament during his ratification process,
“This act Sir, under Cap 12 of the Laws of Zambia is a more serious misdemeanor than the ones alleged to have been committed by Mr Hichilema and Mr Msoni,”
Mr Mulusa said failure to summon Mr Nchito first would cause Parliament to be the body bringing the office of the Speaker of Parliament into contempt, ridicule and disrepute.
Mr Mulusa quoted section 104 of the penal code which states “ any person who before the Assembly or any authorized committee intentionally gives a false answer to any question material to the subject of inquiry which may be put to him during the course of any examination shall be guilty of an offence against section 104 of the penal code”.
He said Mr Nchito gave a false answer to the committee which had shared concerns with him that it was the PF government’s wish that former president Mr Rupiah Banda immunity be lifted.
Mr Nchito’s assertion that Mr Banda targeted him and that of the downfall of Zambian Airways, a company sop dear to his heart, was a consequence of that targeting, would compromise his position.
It was also pointed out to Mr Nchito that the prosecution of Finance Bank owner Dr Rajan Mahtani whose bank he (DPP) was indebted to, was awaiting the new DPP’s instruction.
But Mr Nchito allayed these fears by stating that he would not personally prosecute Mr Banda and that he would declare interest in any matters involving Dr Mahtani.
“Interestingly to note, Sir, that Mr Nchito despite assuring the committee, nevertheless went on to enter two nolle prosequi favour Dr Mahtani,” said Mr Mulusa.
He said Dr Mahtani in turn discontinued claims against him (Mr Nchito) for the US$4.2 million loan owed to Finance Bank by Mr Nchito, adding that by this action Dr Mahtani was possible caused to commit possible corporate fraud.
“Unless the Zambian Revenue Authority clarifies that the US$4.2 million Nchito debt write off was not allowable expense for the purpose of taxation, Dr Mahtani possibly also evaded tax payments as a result of lost interest income from which the public should have earned VAT on interest income and corporate tax on net income,” said Mr Mulusa.
He said if the Speaker should neglect prosecuting Mr Nchito then he would also run the risk of abetting crime as there was no provision under the law that allowed him (Speaker) to cast a blind eye to an act of criminality of that nature.
He said the Bank of Zambia too needed to ensure that banking activities were devoid of actions that threatened stability in the financial sector.
“The external auditors of Finance Bank should also have called the attention of the shareholders to this single action of debt swap for personal liberty by a shareholder using bank resources.
He said the bank resources were public depositors money and that meant they were more entities that abrogated their duties and may also be summoned to appear before Parliament.
“You will notice that his misdemeanor has had far reaching consequences and has affected the general public directly and contributed to the loss of public confidence in our legislative and judicial system, “It will be a more honourable case to purse than the mundane alleged misdemeanors by Mr Hichilema and Mr Msoni,” said Mr Mulusa