The Foundation of Democratic Process (FODEP) is extremely disappointed with the conduct of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito for having snubbed the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) where he was expected to exculpate himself on charges of professional misconduct.
FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi says allegations against Mr Nchito by MMD Solwezi Central Member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa were serious and had damaged the integrity of Mr Nchito and the office of the DPP.
Mr Chipenzi told the Daily Nation that Mr Nchito, being a senior lawyer should have been civil enough to appear before LAZ and exonerate himself than stay away in a display of impunity.
Mr Chipenzi said the refusal by Mr Nchito to appear before LAZ, the association that regulates the professional conduct of lawyers, was casting doubts on the association’s ability and strength to control its members.
Mr Chipenzi said the conduct exhibited by Mr Nchito has gravely tarnished his professional integrity and that the DPP has failed to be a good example to younger lawyers and his subordinates on the need to respect institutions of governance.
Mr Chipenzi said it was clear that Mr Nchito had breached the professional code of conduct of LAZ by deliberately misleading the parliamentary select committee when he was being screened for the job of DPP and that was why he was scared to face the consequences.
He has advised LAZ to seriously reflect on the conduct of Mr Nchito because the allegations against the DPP were serious and had the potential casting aspersions on the association.
“There is little doubt that the DPP, Mr Mutembo Nchito arrogantly breached the professional conduct of the very association that regulates his conduct. By so doing, Mr Nchito has lowered and damaged his integrity and if he has shame, he must redeem himself by presenting himself before the LAZ committee that is supposed to hear his case,” Mr Chipenzi said.
He stated that the behavior exhibited by Mr Nchito was a confirmation of the fears that those in government were not amenable to institutions of good governance like LAZ and that was the reason most of senior government officials had also lost respect for the rule of law.
He said Mr Nchito, as a top government official and senior lawyer, should not have shown such kind of insubordination to the association to which he belonged.
“His conduct has shown that he is not interested in seeing justice dispensed and this should cause worry to all the citizens because that is the man at the helm of our justice system. Mr Nchito as the DPP has the duty to ensure that Mr Mulusa’s case is handled comprehensibly, fairly and without fear,” Mr Chipenzi said.
Mr Chipenzi said it was imperative for Mr Nchito to respect Mr Mulusa’s views stating that it was not giving confidence to the people for government officials to disregard the rule of law with impunity.
He noted that the confidence the general public had in LAZ was slowly but surely being eroded by people like Mutembo Nchito who were putting the name of the association into disrepute.
Last Friday, Mr Nchito was summoned to appear before the Law Association of Zambia on charges of professional misconduct after Mr Mulusa complained to the association that the DPP had lied and deliberately misled the parliamentary select committee when he was being interviewed for the job.