EMBATTLED Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito is allegedly scheming to halt the commencement of the Annel Silungwe Tribunal established by President Edgar Lungu to investigate his professional misconduct by offering to resign from his position in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
The Silungwe Tribunal which should have commenced its hearing yesterday was forced to adjourn after both the State and Mr Nchito applied for the postponement without stating the reasons for the application.
When the tribunal sat to commence its sittings, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka moved a motion proposing that the hearing should be postponed because the State and Mr Nchito had agreed to adjourn the proceedings because there was a consent agreement between the two parties to address the tribunal in chambers.
Mr Nchito who has previously demanded to be expeditiously heard was quick to tell the tribunal that he had reached an agreement with the State to adjourn the proceedings but did not give reasons why such an agreement had been reached.
This prompted tribunal chairman Annel Silungwe to demand under whose instant the application to address the tribunal in chambers was to which Mr Nchtito responded that it was at the instance of both the State and himself. Attorney General Kalaluka told the tribunal that the State and Mr Nchito had been talking and that application to postpone the proceedings was as a result of a consent agreement between the two parties.
But the Daily Nation has been reliably informed that Mr Nchito has offered to resign from his position on condition that he was granted his freedom from prosecution for the crimes he fears he could have committed during his course of duty and otherwise.
“By consent of the two parties, we have agreed to apply that we address the tribunal in chambers. The State and the DPP have been talking and the application is at the instance of both the State and the DPP,” Mr Kalaluka said. After the tribunal retuned from the chambers, Mr Kalaluka said it had been agreed that the parties should request the tribunal to postpone the hearing of the matter to Tuesday next week.
At this point Justice Silungwe expressed concern at the period the two parties were seeking the postponement of the tribunal sittings stating that an impression had been created that what was going to transpire during the tribunal was a matter of complexity.
Justice Silungwe said adjourning the sittings to next week was going to delay the hearing and suggested that the State and Mr Nchito should settle for Friday this week. “Mr Attorney General, you do realise that the tribunal appreciates that matters of this nature are expected to proceed expeditiously. Is it not possible that the matter could be adjourned within this week such as Wednesday or Thursday? You are giving an impression that what is going to transpire is a matter of complexity. Since there is mutual application and consent from both parties, the tribunal will reluctantly adjourn until Friday this week for preliminary hearings,” Justice Silungwe said.
However, the Daily Nation has been informed that Mr Nchito has decided to trade the tribunal with his intention to resign from his position but only if the State was going to undertake a commitment not to pursue and prosecute him. Sources have claimed that Finance Bank board chairman Rajan Mahtani has been unsettled with the revelations that Mr Nchito abused the judiciary to enter a consent judgment in 2012 between Finance Bank and its creditors Keiran Day, Mine Air Services T/A Zambian Airways, JNC Holdings, Post Newspaper, Mutembo Nchito, Nchima Nchito and Fred M’membe an act that has been described as an abuse of the judicial process.
It has been learnt that Dr Mahtani is rattled with the revelations and is pushing against the commencement of the tribunal because there is a danger that Finance Bank would be sucked into the saga which would yet again cause the Bank of Zambia to repossess his bank for the second time in four years.