SUSPENDED Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito has asked the Lusaka High Court to stay the Tribunal hearing and his suspension from office.
The Tribunal appointed by President Edgar Lungu to probe Mr Nchito’s alleged misconduct is scheduled to start its sittings in camera on Tuesday.
Mr Nchito, who has filed in a notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review in the Lusaka High Court, has asked the court to quash the decision of the Annel Silungwe-led Tribunal to allow two
former chief justices Mathew Ngulube and Ernest Sakala to sit as members of the Tribunal despite alleged established bias on their part.
He wants the court to quash the decision of the Tribunal to hold sittings and even make rulings in the absence of procedure, set up for such sittings by the appointing authority and that the same is illegal; procedurally improper and irrational as it contravenes the law.
Mr Nchito has further asked the court to quash the Tribunal’s decision to commence sittings to inquire into matters that are the subject of appeal in the High Court and Supreme Court.
He additionally wants the court to quash the decision of the Tribunal to sit in camera, which decision was made without affording him an opportunity to be heard.
Mr Nchito wants the court to restrain the Tribunal from treating him in a manner that is illegal, procedurally improper and irrational.
He wants the court to order the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka to pay him damages for misfeasance (wrongful exercise of lawful authority or transgression) in public office and that if the application is granted, it operates as a stay.
Mr Nchito said that he is the current DPP and that the issue of the Tribunal first arose from a complaint lodged by former deputy finance minister Newton Ng’uni before the Lusaka magistrate court and Chongwe magistrate court but quashed by the Lusaka High Court.
He said that he was on March 10 suspended by President Edgar Lungu who appointed a Tribunal to probe him on allegations that were largely similar to those of Mr Ng’uni.
Mr Nchito said when the Tribunal started its preliminary sittings on April 1, 2015, he raised three preliminary issues among them, that Mr justices Ngulube and Sakala recuse themselves due to previous
encounters with him.
He also submitted that the charges against him were incompetent for not being in conformity with the constitutional stipulations, as such the Tribunal could not proceed.
However, the Tribunal in its ruling on Tuesday this week dismissed all his preliminary applications.
It is for this reason that he is seeking the court’s intervention, alleging that the Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to sit and probe him.
He argues that there is nothing in Article 58 of the Constitution allowing a Tribunal set up to probe the DPP to make its own procedure.
Mr Nchito further contends that it is illegal for the Tribunal to commence sitting when the bulk of the matters he is facing before it are the subject matter of an appeal.