THERE is nothing irrational about the Annel Silungwe Tribunal’s decision to probe suspended Director of Public Prosecutions in camera, senior State Advocate Francis Mwale has said.
Mr Mwale, who appeared as a witness when the matter came up for inter-parte hearing in chambers yesterday before Judge Mubanga Kondolo, said there was precedence in holding of tribunal sittings in camera.
He cited the cases of judges Emelia Sunkutu, Timothy Katanekwa and former DPP Mukelabai Mukelabai as having been tribunals which were held in camera.
Mr Mwale said he became aware of the allegations leveled against Mr Nchito through files which the suspended DPP had access to and the media covered them widely.
He cited some of the allegations against Mr Nchito as having entered a nolle in the matter involving Dr Rajan Mahtani, walking out of Justice Nigel Mutuna’s chambers and for taking over proceedings in the criminal matter involving his business partner Fred M’membe.
“It is a fact that the decision of the tribunal to sit in camera has a precedence. The tribunals I have cited were set up to investigate constitutional office bearers,” Mr Mwale said.
He said the Annel Silungwe-led tribunal had no reason to depart from doing what had happened in the past and it had to follow the precedence.
And Mr Nchito was yesterday advised against being emotional when he questioned the authority the presiding judge would use to determine his case in which the State has applied to discharge the leave for judicial review he was granted over the Annel Silungwe tribunal.
Mr Nchito questioned the authority of Judge Mubanga Kondolo when the justice said it was possible for him to rule on the matter using affidavits from both parties.
Justice Kondolo was prompted to say this when, during cross-examination Mr Nchito digressed and asked Mr Mwale whether he knew an issue of some people planting drugs in Brebner Changala’s house.
This prompted Attorney General Likando Kalaluka to object to the kind of cross-examination and asked Mr Nchito to stick to issues highlighted in the affidavit filed by the State.
The judge also advised Mr Nchito to avoid bringing other issues which were not in the proceedings.
Mr Justice Kandolo ordered Mr Nchito to file an affidavit in opposition to an application by the Attorney General’s chambers to discharge the order.
“It is important for Mr Nchito to file an affidavit in opposition to have it on the table and then resume cross-examination. The witness may be recalled for cross-examination,” he said.
Mr Justice Kondolo said the cross-examination of the witness did not go as the court envisaged and it could not continue.
Mr Nchito agreed to file an affidavit and asked if the court would allow him to continue cross examining the witness again.
The matter has been adjourned to July 15, 2015 for cross-examination. Earlier, Mr Nchito’s lawyers Nchima Nchito and Chisuwo Hamweela recused themselves from representing Mr Nchito.
This was after Judge Kondolo refused Mr Nchito’s application to be joined in the defence team.