SUSPENDED Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito is determined to escape the consequences of his judicial transgressions, Frank Bwalya has warned.
He charged that if the State and the Annel Silungwe Tribunal were not careful, the process will be highly compromised and undermined to tarnish the outcome.
If this happened, he said, it would be a betrayal of the worst form because the state and the tribunal would have failed to safeguard national interest.
Fr Bwalya, who is former Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) president and now a Patriotic Front (PF) member, said revelations that Mr Nchito covertly met civil rights activist Brebner Changala at the request of the suspended DPP were a sign that Mr Nchito was not willing to cooperate with the tribunal and that was why he was scheming to frustrate the process.
He said in an interview yesterday that the State and the tribunal should safeguard the process of investigating Mr Nchito by preventing him from contemptuously interfering with potential witnesses because the DPP and his allies were determined to undermine the tribunal and its appointing authority.
Fr Bwalya stated that it was sad that Mr Nchito attempted to persuade Mr Changala to recant a letter he wrote to President Edgar Lungu to constitute a tribunal against him (Nchito) and cautioned that such schemes should not be entertained because they were meant to undermine and embarrass the appointing authority.
He said Mr Nchito’s schemes had confirmed fears by Zambians that the DPP was not going to cooperate with the process of the law and that there was need for the State and the tribunal to prevent Mr Nchito from having the freedom of covertly meeting witnesses to intimidate and threaten them.
“The revelations by Brebner Changala that Mr Nchito had a secret meeting with him during which meeting Mr Nchito attepted to persuaded Mr Changala to recant his letter to President Lungu to constitute a tribunal against the DPP makes sad reading. Mr Nchito’s action has confirmed public fears that he was not going to cooperate with the tribunal. It is very clear that Mr Nchito has been cornered and feels trapped by the tribunal. He will stop at nothing to try to escape from being investigated. The warning to the State and the tribunal is that if they are not careful, this process will be highly undermined and will not serve the public interest for which it was constituted,” Fr Bwalya said.
Fr Bwalya said Zambians should immediately demand thorough investigations into the secret meeting Mr Changala had with Mr Nchito who has been suspended from performing his functions over an array of charges he was facing.
He explained that such an investigation was critical because it would thwart and prevent Mr Nchito and his allies from engaging in contemptuous schemes meant to derail the work of the tribunal which he said comprised Zambia’s legal brains in former Chief Justices Annel Silungwe, chairman, Mathew Ngulube and Ernest Sakala who are the members.
Fr Bwalya said the State should take the revelations by Mr Changala seriously to avoid future accusations of complacency.
“Whereas the stakes for Mr Nchito are high because of his career, the stakes are even higher for Zambians because the investigations are about maintaining the integrity of the office of the DPP. Zambians can never allow a compromised individual who is incompetent and trying to use his office to perpetuate corruption to continue occupying the office of the DPP. Mr Nchito has a lifetime opportunity to be heard and let him utilise the chance because it comes but once in a life time,” Fr Bwalya said.