THE Lusaka Magistrates Court has thrown out an application to cite former Permanent Secretary in the ministry of tourism Charity Mwansa for contempt of court after she allegedly deliberately gave conflicting statements on oath with intent to mislead the court.
In dismissing the application on whether or not Mwansa should be cited for contempt Magistrate Ireen Wishimanga said:
“according to section 104 of the penal code it is not for the court to indict the matter but it required the police to investigate such matters in an event that the defence or state wished to cite a witness for perjury and if they found that the matter needed to be prosecuted.”
This is in a matter in which Lusaka lawyer Robert Simeza is representing Chongwe Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo who is facing charges of abuse of authority of Office by firing five Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officers and cancelling the haunting tender concessions.
The defence accused Mwansa of giving contradictory statements on oath and applied for perjury against her.
The Megistrate said that the perjury process could only be adopted in criminal procedures.
She said for the foregoing reasons it was the duty of the police to investigate Mwansa after which they could offer a formal report to try her for perjury proceedings.
Ms Wishimanga said that entertaining such an application the court would be trying two cases in one matter.
She said section 104 shows that there has to be trial for a person who contravenes that section.
She declined the application and ordered that the matter continues and Mwansa be examined.
But one of the defence lawyers Yosa Yosa made another application to stay the case pending the determination of a petition at the High Court where Masebo is challenging the Attorney General to subject her to a criminal proceedings over issues already dwelt by the tribunal.
In her petition she is arguing that she could not be subjected for a free and fair trial if she was subjected to a criminal proceeding, adding that if the application would not be granted there would be a miscarriage of power.
Mr Yosa asked the court to stay the proceedings in order to ensure that Masebo was subjected for a free and fair trial adding that the court had a jurisdiction to have control over the proceedings pending before it in the interest of justice.
He said it was mandatory for court to refer the constitutional issues that had risen to the Constitutional Court and in light of the amendment of the constitution.
The matter comes up on February 24 for another ruling on whether the matter should be stayed pending conclusions of Masebo’s petition in the High Court.