State fails to answer Sylvia Masebo corruption charges

The state yesterday failed to respond to the  application challenging the decision by Acting Chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda not to constitute a tribunal to probe corruption charges against Tourism and Arts Minister, Sylvia Masebo, when the matter came up for inter party hearing yesterday.

The state applied for adjournment on the matter because it is yet to be furnished with instructions from the Acting Chief Justice.

But Mr Harrington’s lawyers said the office of the attorney general had had enough time to obtain instructions to file appropriate responses before the date because the matter was processed on July 29.

The matter has been adjourned to August 28.

In allowing the adjournment, High court Judge Dominic Sichinga ruled that the judicial review was governed by rules which parties must adhere to, and expected that the parties would adhere to them.

Mr Harrington through his lawyer has argued that the chief Justice had no discretionary power to fail to convene a tribunal once a complainant had been received, and that the chief Justice’s role was to simultaneously inform the President and the Speaker of the National Assembly and then proceed to constitute a tribunal.

He has further argued that the acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda failed to act with procedural fairness, by repeatedly demanding that the applicant furnishes evidence making out a prima facie case, and veered out of the procedure prescribed by the statute.

“Her role under Section 13 (3) of the Act was to simply receive the allegations and then inform the President and the Speaker of the National Assembly,” he said.

It was also submitted that the purpose of judicial review was to ensure that the public bodies and officials performed their functions or duties in good faith, without malice and in accordance with the law.