EMBATTLED Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito has gone into hiding after escaping from lawful custody at the Chongwe Magistrates Court on Thursday immediately his matter was referred to Chief Resident Magistrate for relocation.
Lawyers for Newton Ng’uni, the complainant in the matter, Makebi Zulu, Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri yesterday waited for Mr. Nchito to present himself at the Lusaka Magistrates Court court but the DPP elected to stay away from court and no reasons were given for his absence.
It was later noted that even the case record which was being waited for before the matter could be tabled before Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda for relocation did not get to court in time.
And civil rights activist Brebner Changala has written to President Lungu asking him to constitute a tribunal to investigate professional misconduct against Mr Nchito who has been accused of having committed an array of financial and constitutional transgressions.
On Thursday evening, after the Chongwe Magistrates Court referred the matter of Mr. Nchito to Lusaka for re-alocation as the High Court had ruled that it did not have authority to preside over it, Mr. Nchito fled the scene before the police could complete the process of his release and escaped in a gold-plated Jeep with the help of his young brother Kapungwe Nchito and his whereabouts have remained unknown.
Police spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda, when contacted for a comment yesterday, refused to give a position, saying the matter was a subject of court processes but the police did not know where Mr Nchito was.
Lusaka Province Police Commissioner Charity Katanga said she could not comment because her division was not involved in the arrest and detention of Mr. Nchito.
But the complainant, Mr Ng’uni said he did not expect Mr. Nchito to run away from lawful custody without following procedures.
Mr. Ng’uni said the DPP’s conduct was strange as it did not depict such a high office in the criminal administration system in the country.
“For us, we will wait for Monday. We came to court today (yesterday) with the hope to proceed with the matter as directed by the High Court but he was not available. You can ask his lawyer who happens to be his elder brother Nchima Nchito about his whereabouts,” he said.
He said the issues raised in his complaint to the Magistrate Court could not be “wished away” because they were on record and therefore, the whole court process should be followed to the end..
Mr. Nchito is facing nine charges among them lying before the Parliamentary Select Committee, to forging of court documents as well as obtaining a K14 billion bank loan by fraudulent misrepresentation. He was yesterday expected to appear before Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda in a matter in which he has challenged his arrest but stayed away.
Mr Nchito becomes the first DPP in the Commonwealth to have been arrested by the law enforcement agency over alleged criminal transgression.