LAWYERS representing suspended Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito on Wednesday walked out of the Tribunal proceedings in a perceived protest against its decision to insist on investigating Mr Nchito despite him petitioning the Constitutional Court on the matter.
Nchima Nchito, who was representing his brother together with other lawyers from Nchito and Nchito Advocates, informed the Tribunal constituted to probe Mr Nchito of alleged professional misconduct that he could no longer represent his brother.
The move left Mutembo with no representation, prompting him to seek an adjournment to enable him find another lawyer to represent him.
Mr Justice Silungwe, sitting with two other members, former chief justices Ernest Sakala and Mathew Ngulube together with Tribunal secretary Mathews Zulu adjourned the proceedings to this morning.
On Monday, Mr Nchito asked the Tribunal to discontinue its proceedings on account of the enactment of the amended Constitution which has not repeated the old procedures for the removal of the DPP.
But Mr Justice Silungwe ruled that the Tribunal would continue until its mandate was revoked or modified because it was appointed to investigate the alleged professional misconduct and not to receive new preliminary issues.
Sources indicated that the Tribunal was poised to continue hearing evidence from the witnesses on the stand as it resumes sitting today, until such a time when it would hear from the court on the suspended DPP’s legal suits.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka has urged the court not to grant suspended DPP Mutembo Nchito leave to apply for judicial review to challenge the decision of the Tribunal to insist on probing him.
Mr Kalaluka said that the Tribunal should be given an opportunity to carry out its investigations without undue fragmentation.
This was in a matter in which Mr Nchito had applied for leave to apply for judicial review to quash the decision of the Tribunal to proceed probing him in an event of the amended Constitution which does not provide for such.
Mr Nchito, who wanted if leave granted to operate as a stay of the Tribunal’s insistence to continue investigating him despite filing a petition in the Constitutional Court and High Court argued that the Tribunal had no mandate to probe him under the amended Constitution as it was now the responsibility of the Judicial Service Commission.
But in their submission when the matter came up for inter parte hearing before Judge Petronella Ngulube yesterday, Mr Kalaluka and Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa urged the court to dismiss Mr Nchito’s request on grounds that it had no merit.
Mr Kalaluka said the State would rely on the Supreme Court judgment in the case of the Attorney General versus Mutembo Nchito selected judgment of 2016 which guided that interlocutory issues were not subject to judicial review.
He said the application had no merit as all the provisions relating to the operationalisation of Constitution Court are not yet in effect.
Ms Justice Ngulube reserved ruling on whether or not to grant Mr Nchito leave to apply for judicial review to March 3 this year.
Times of Zambia