27th January, 2017
HIGH Court Judge in-charge Mwiinde Siavwapa has been reported to the Judicial Complaints Commission for gross misconduct.
Former UPND deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo has reported Judge Siavwapa for rendering legal advice to former Post Newspaper proprietor Fred M’membe from the bench in a matter that is currently before another Judge in the same court.
Lifwekelo claimed that he had discovered Judge Siavwapa gave legal advise to M’membe who is seeking to be part of the liquidation process.
Lifwekelo said it was entirely wrong for Judge Siavwapa to render legal advised to an interested party over another Judge presiding over a matter without declaring interest.
Lifwekelo who has written to the Judicial Complaints Commission stated that following the appointment of Judge Siavwapa as Judge in-charge of the High Court, Mr M’Membe wrote to the Judge seeking legal advice which was unduly rendered.
Lifwekelo said by rendering legal advice from the bench, to a person wishing to be party to the case, and a matter he was not presiding, Justice Siavwapa acted in gross misconduct as the Judge-in-Charge.
M’membe in a letter to Judge Siavwapa was seeking the removal of Judge Sunday Nkonde from presiding over the liquidation of the Post Newspaper.
And in response Judge Siavwapa advised M’membe to file an application before the Court hearing the liquidation of the Post Newspaper.
It is also noted that Judge Siavwapa presided over the matter between The Post Newspaper before it was liquidated and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and handed down a judgment in favour of Mr M’membe a judgment was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
Below are the complaints filed by Lifwekelo.
1. *The judge has entertained and acted on communication from and in favour of a person who seeks to be a party to proceedings before another Judge thereby interfering in a matter which is currently before another Judge of the High Court.*
*2. The Judge has not declared conflict of interest between himself and the Post Newspapers Ltd (in liquidation). This matter in which Judge Siavwapa has not declared interest is between the same parties as those in which he delivered judgment, namely the Post Newspapers as debtor and ZRA as creditor.*
*3.The Judge (Siavwapa) has rendered legal advice from the bench in a matter before another Judge of same court and or similar jurisdiction to a person who seeks to join those proceedings. In rendering legal advice from the bench, the Judge has not copied his advice or communication to the Judge before whom the proceedings have been nor any party to those proceedings.*
*4. In rendering legal advice from the bench the judge has not copied his advice or communication to the Judge before whom the proceedings have been, nor to any party to those proceedings.*