President Michael Sata has rejected an application by prominent Lusaka lawyer Vincent Malambo who wants to defend himself from allegations the head of State made that the applicant was removed from the Development Bank Zambia (DBZ) because he was allegedly incompetent.
The DBZ engaged Mr Malambo to recover a K14 billion loan from Director of public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo, Post newspaper owner Fred M’membe and Nchima Nchito and actually won the case after High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna ruled that the trio obtained the loan by fraudulent misrepresentation.
The application by Mr Malambo will be heard in court this afternoon before judge Lengalenga.
Mr Malambo has applied to be joined to a matter in which the President has sued Daily Nation proprietor Richard Sakala and University of Zambia lecturer, choolwe Beyani who in his article alleged that Mr Sata was protecting his criminal friends from repaying the K14 billion to DBZ.
When the President appeared in court in May as a witness, he disparaged the legal prowess of Mr Malamb.
The President’s statement in court prompted Mr Malambo to apply to the same court to be joined to the case so that he could clear his name.
But Mr Sata has argued that in the article complained of, there was nothing that would prejudice and cause Mr Malambo professional injury.
The President has sued Mr Sakala as publisher and Dr Beyani as author of an article which accused the Head of State of defending his friends, Mutembo Nchito, Fred M’membe and Nchima Nchito who owe the DBZ K14 billion.
Mr Sata through his lawyers, Messrs Ellis and Company, has argued that Mr Malambo has no interest in the suit of the plaintiff to be joined to the matter.He has said that the centre of the matter on which he had sued was the article published by Mr Sakala in the Daily Nation newspaper of May 16, 2012 which was entitled “ Malambo’s removal criminal”.He has submitted that Mr Malambo had not demonstrated his interest in the matter of the action as the High Court clearly stated that a person who was not party to an action could only be made a plaintiff or a defendant.
President Sata has argued that there was nowhere in Mr Malambo’s application where he showed that the words in the article entitled “Malambo’s removal criminal” were defamatory of, or had injured him in any way.
He said what Mr Malambo had complained of was his (Mr Sata) testimony in court when he was giving evidence and referred to the applicant’s legal prowess.However, Mr Sata said it was trite law that statements by witnesses in Court do not give rise to causes of action as they enjoyed absolute privilege.He said this position of the law had been recognised in section 8 of the Defamation Act Chapter 68 of the Law of Zambia which extends the privilege to reports in newspapers.
Mr Sata said the words Mr Malambo was complaining of were made on an occasion of privilege and no action could be sustained against him.