Judges Sunkutu, Katenekwa cleared


High Court judge Emelia Sunkutu and Industrial Relations Court judge Timothy Katenekwa have been cleared of allegations of incompetence levelled against them.

This is according to a press statement issued by President Lungu’s special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda.

Earlier in 2014, President Michael Sata (late) appointed two tribunals to probe allegations of incompetence against judges Sunkutu and Katenekwa.

Judge Sunkutu was probed by former Chief Justice Matthews Ngulube while Judge Katenekwa appeared before former Minister of Justice, Justice Fredrick Chomba’s tribunal.

On Friday, justices Ngulube and Chomba handed over their reports to President Edgar Lungu who yesterday released the findings.

The tribunal probing Judge Sunkutu recommended that she should not be removed as puisne Judge.

The report recommended that cases or complaints of erring judges should be promptly dealt with by relevant authorities.

“Where case files are lost, supervisors should consider directing new trials which would be a lot less unjust than waiting indefinitely as it has turned out to be,” the tribunal report states.

And Justice Chomba tribunal recommended that judge Katenekwa should not be removed from his position as puisne judge Industrial Relations Court because he was no longer holding to his position following his transfer to High Court in Kabwe.

The tribunal report stated that the charges against erring judicial officers must be brought as promptly as possible whilst they held the office from which the charges emanate.

The tribunal stated that judges’ workload in the Zambian courts must be given special attention and that judges on transfer must be given adequate notice in order for them to conclude cases from the stations they are transferred from.

“When reinstated, the Hon. Mr Justice Katenekwa must be given adequate time to complete pending cases before he can be assigned new cases,” the tribunal recommendation state.

Meanwhile, President Lungu has directed that all district commissioners (DCs) whose contracts expired must vacate office immediately.

In a letter to the Secretary to the Cabinet Rowland Msiska, President Lungu ordered that in the interim, district administrative officers should be appointed to act in the vacant positions before new commissioners were appointed.

The President said DCs wishing to re-apply should do so in line with the provisions of their expired contracts.

The Head of State also warned of stern action against public officers sabotaging development projects and advised those with political ambitions to leave public service.

“The President has further warned of stern action against public officers sabotaging the implementation of various development projects and advised those whose political ambitions are clouding their judgment must leave the public service,” Mr Chanda said.

President Lungu directed special assistant for project implementation and monitoring Lucky Mulusa and all ministers to ensure that they took interest in monitoring projects that were needlessly being held back.

The President said he expected all ministers and members of Parliaments would take advantage of rising of Parliament this month to go out and bring status reports on key development projects that were launched when the Patriotic Front took power in 2011.


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