BREBNER Changala is an honest, diligent and perhaps naïve public spirited citizen who now finds himself in the eye of a storm he least expected.
Firstly he was naïve enough to accept an invitation for a meeting with Mutembo Nchito, the embattled Director of Public Prosecutions, who attempted to persuade him to write President Edgar Lungu to recant his demand for a tribunal.
Brebner refused, insisting that the tribunal should be allowed to proceed with its task.
As a lawyer, a State Counsel, Mutembo should have known better than approach Brebner a prime mover or witness for the tribunal who should not be interfered with, least of all to ask him to recant and therefore totally undermine the tribunal established by the President.
This is a pervasion of justice. The Tribunal must act on this matter which is in reality contempt of the tribunal.
Not surprising, having spurned Mutembo’s efforts, Brebner was approached by the Post Newspaper for an interview, which not surprisingly centered on the single charge of drugs, which they considered as the Achilles heel of the entire tribunal.
The logic is simple and wicked. Since Mutembo Nchito did not plant drugs on Brebner as originally indicted in the terms of reference by President Lungu, the entire case should not stand, a totally fallacious position which does not stand to reason.
This issue has been canvassed vigorously although Brebner has made it very clear that he did not personally witness Mutembo Nchito planting the drugs, indeed he could not because the vermox drugs that were swapped for ecstasy pills were swopped at the public health laboratory.
In this regard the Drug Enforcement Commission has admitted the mistake and has offered Brebner K600,000 and his sister K300,000 for the mistake.
Brebner is very concerned that Mutembo entered a nolle prosequi instead of effecting a total discharge when the facts clearly indicate that there is no evidence to support any charge of drug trafficking. A nolle means that he can be re-arrested.
It can therefore be seen that the drug trafficking “debacle” which was the centre of contention has now been abandoned. In its place Mutembo is arguing the procedure in which the charges have been leveled, arguing that the appointing authority, the President who constituted the charges, did not give him a chance to be heard.
He has accused the President of violating the natural justice principle of audi alteram partem ( let every party be heard).
This assertion is particularly otiose because Article 58 mandates the President to constitute a tribunal to hear matters that the President brings to it.
The article does not demand of the President to present the issues in any specific manner or indeed to name the sources of the complaint, suffice to state that the President will furnish the tribunal with issues to be investigated, which issues will be made available to the DPP.
This is exactly what has happened.
Zambians should not be surprised by the resistance shown by Mutembo Nchito and Fred M’membe because the stakes are very high. As of now Zambian Airways of which both Fred and Mutembo are director owes in excess of US14million. A lot more will be revealed as this process progresses.