Lawyers representing former President Rupiah Banda have filed documents applying for leave to commence contempt proceeding against the immigration officers who blocked the former Head of State from traveling to South Africa yesterday.
And the defence team has rubbished claims that the Court ruling was not served on Attorney General Mumba Malila arguing that the attorney general was not a party to the proceedings.
The DPP they maintaned was a party and had been availed the ruling.
Meanwhile the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said that disregarding the rule of law as directed by courts of law has dire consequences on the country’s justice system.
LAZ vice president George Chisanga noted that judgments, rulings and other court orders issued by the courts of law should be complied with by officers charged with the task of implementing the law.
Mr Chisanga said that disobeying of court orders, especially by the executive wing of the government would greatly undermine the justice system and the rule of law.
Former President Banda’s lawyers argued that the case was a criminal matter and not a civil one and that the DPP Mutembo Nchito was the one who was party to these proceedings and that he had the ruling from the judge in charge, Justice Jane Kabuka.
The lawyers said the decision by the immigration officers to bar Mr Banda from travelling was contempt of court and vowed to fight the injustice being exhibited in this case.”We are surprised that there should be an excuse that the attorney general was not served with the ruling when the ruling made it clear and allowed the former president to travel for the Roundtable conference in South Africa.
“This is a criminal matter and not a civil matter. Why should we serve the ruling on the Attorney General when he is not party to the proceedings? It is the DPP that is a party to these court proceedings and not Mr Malila,” the lawyer said.
The lawyers said the Immigration Officers were supposed to be cited for contempt by the court for not obeying the Court Order.
Mr Banda was supposed to travel to South Africa yesterday after the high court granted him permission to attend the Boston University roundtable conference for former African leaders.The immigration officers received instructions not to allow Mr Banda flying to South Africa despite being shown the Court Order signed by judge in charge Jane Kabuka.
“The immigration officers said they understood but could not do anything about it as the instructions they were implementing had come from the Chief Immigration Officer Moola Milomo. “When contacted, Mr Milomo said he too was acting on instructions from “above”, read a statement from RB’s administrative assistant Kennedy Limwanya.And Home Affairs Ministers Edgar Lungu confirmed that the Government Joint Investigations Team had embargoed his trip because Mr Banda could interfere with the witnesses.