By: Bright Chikele…
THE Constitutional Court has thrown out suspended Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito’s application to stay the proceedings of the Tribunal investigating his alleged misconduct while in office.
Constitutional Court Justice Mugeni Mulenga made the ruling on Friday, explaining that Mr Nchito failed to satisfy the fundamentals of justice which would have made it possible to grant the injunction to halt the proceedings of the case.
Justice Mulenga explained that the court could only grant such an application once it was established that failure to do so would lead to a fundamental injustice.
“I have thus considered whether there will be a fundamental failure of justice and whether the petitioner has shown reasonable compelling grounds to warrant me to exercise my discretion to grant a stay of proceedings.
“I am not satisfied that the petitioner has met the same and I accordingly decline to grant the stay of proceedings of the Tribunal,” Justice Mulenga said.
She said the Tribunal must be allowed to carry out its mandate as it was investigative in nature, a general position taken by all Commonwealth countries including in Zambia that “investigative tribunals or organs must be allowed to conclude their proceedings without unnecessary delay and disturbance”.
Mr Nchito petitioned the proceedings of the tribunal which was set up in accordance with provisions of the old Constitution that there were no transitional provisions to warrant its continuation following the assenting to the Amended Constitution.
But the Attorney General’s office argued that Section 16 of the Constitution of Zambia Act No 1 of 2016 provided for the transitional provisions of matters in existence such as the Tribunal which existed at the time of assenting to the current Constitution in January 2016 to continue.
The tribunal has since closed and was preparing recommendations to be handed over to the President.
Over 40 witnesses appeared before the Annel Silungwe Tribunal.