IT IS a notorious fact that Wynter Kabimba as Justice Minister ill-advised late president Michal Sata to set up the infamous Lovemore Chikopa tribunal to protect his ally suspended Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from being accountable for the K14 million Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) funds, the Patriotic Front (PF) has charged.
PF deputy general secretary Mumbi Phiri said Post Newspaper and Wynter Kabimba had no morality to question the appointment of former Chief Justice Mathews Ngulube as Judicial Service Commission chairman and his standing in society.
Mrs Mumbi dismissed assertions by Mr Kabimba that the judiciary was under siege under President Edgar Lungu, stating that the judiciary was under serious threat during the time the Rainbow Party leader was Justice Minister.
She said in a statement yesterday that the High Court Judges were performing their functions without any fear or form of intimidation from the executive as it was during Mr Kabimba’s reign as Justice Minister.
“This is totally new state of affairs compared to the days of Kabimba as Justice Minister where judges were reportedly threatened with tribunal if they decided cases otherwise. It is a notorious fact that it was Kabimba as Justice Minister, who ill-advised late President Michael Sata in setting up the infamous Chikopa tribunal, concealing his interest to protect Mutembo and killing the Development Bank of Zambia criminal loan. Kabimba must own up,” Ms Mumbi said.
Ms Mumbi advised that Zambians should dismiss as hogwash the propaganda by the Post and Mr Kabimba to insinuate that President Lungu was inflicting image crisis on the judiciary by appointing Justice Ngulube to head the Judicial Service Commission.
Ms Mumbi said there was nothing irregular in Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima to swear in Justice Ngulube as chairman of the Judicial Service Commission in camera.
“What would be the rationale behind any secrecy for a commission whose business will interface the general public,” Mrs Mumbi said.
She said Justice Ngulube had chaired several commissions with honour since he left office as Chief Justice. Ms Mumbi said it was Justice Ngulube who chaired the tribunal which investigated Judge Katenekwa and was a member of the Judge Sunkutu tribunal.
She said Justice Ngulube was also an expert on the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) and the Technical Committee on Drafting of the draft constitution.
“It should be emphasized that while all the previous tribunals involving these judges were held in camera, including the Essau Chulu tribunal, also known as the Mukelabai Mukelabai tribunal set up to probe alleged misconduct of the DPP, the Post Newspaper, Wynter Kabimba and all their praise singers seek to crucify the Mutembo tribunal for electing to be held in camera,” Ms Mumbi said.
She said Zambians should ask why Mutembo Nchito’s tribunal should be treated differently from Mukelebai Mukelebai’s tribunal