Judge Wood should recuse himself from Wild land case

Lusaka High Court Judge Albert Wood has been challenged to recuse himself from a case involving Wildland Company Limited of Ndola that was irregularly handed over to him by acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda. 

This is a matter in which Judge Kajimanga in February this year appointed a provisional liquidator to wind up Wildland Company Limited but before the matter could be heard, Justice Chibesakunda transferred the matter to Judge Wood

According to court documentation, the Wildland Company Limited case was initially being presided over by suspended Judge Charles Kajimanga but the matter was suspiciously transferred to Judge Wood following a letter from the applicants who had requested that the matter be transferred.

In objecting to the transfer of the matter from Judge Kajimanga to Judge Wood, the respondents are arguing that such a transfer is in violation of several provisions of the law and that the movement of the case was therefore null and void.

Wildland Company Limited through its lawyers have complained that matter was transferred to Judge Wood following a letter of complaint from Paolo Marandola under unclear circumstances.

“It is our considered view that the allegation as to illegality contained in Dr Paolo Marandola’s letter is not only contemptuous, but also demeaning to the Court. It is our submission that having due regard to the facts surrounding the transfer of this matter, the re-allocation of the case was ultra vires and therefore null void,” the respondents say in their objection.

Wildland argues that the applicant had created an impression that the matter was being conducted inappropriately by Justice Kajimanga when in fact not.

The re-allocation of the matter from Judge Kajimanga to Judge Wood was precipitated by the letter written by Paolo Marandola to acting Chief Justice Chibesakunda applying that the matter be handled by another judge.

Wildland Company is challenging the movement of its records from Judge Kajimanga to Judge Wood when the suspended judge had not recused himself from presiding over the matter.

The lawyers representing Wildland have argued that they were not aware of the circumstances under which the matter was transferred to Judge Wood.

They are also wondering as to whether Judge Wood had the jurisdiction to hear the matter..

In his letter requesting Justice Chibesakunda, Dr Marandola alleged that the provisional liquidator appointed by Justice Kajimanga was causing a lot of damages to the company, its shareholders and the workers.

The respondents argue that the matter was a preserve of Judge Kajimanga who was the presiding judge and had not recused himself and therefore no ajudicial officer could interfere in the conduct of the case.