Mumba questions court process

Lawyers representing MMD president Nevers Mumba have argued that the contempt case the opposition leader has been sued for has not been properly handled in conformity with the rules of the Supreme Court.

Irene Kunda of George Kunda and Company and Makebi Zulu of Makebi and Advocates argued that it was appropriate and necessary that leave  to commence committal proceedings must be sought  as failure to do so  would be a breach of  the Supreme Court rules.

Raising preliminary issues, Dr Mumba’s lawyers are seeking to establish whether the proceedings were properly before the Supreme Court in the absence of leave being sought to commence contempt proceedings.

The lawyers who were appearing before acting Deputy Chief Justice Florence Mumba, stated that according to the record before them, it shows that no leave was sought in terms of order 52 of the Supreme Court rules which makes it mandatory that such leave should be sought.

“No application to a division court for an order of committal against any person may be made unless leave to make such an application has been granted in accordance with the rule,” they argued.

The lawyers also said that it must be noted that the Supreme Court being a divisional court and the alleged  contempt not having been committed in the face of the  court, it was appropriate and of necessity that  leave to commence committal proceedings be sought.

They said that failure to do so was breach of the rule and such an application devoid of leave ought not to be entertained especially that the court has not moved on its motion but by an application on the part of the applicant.

The lawyers raised three preliminaries among the seeking whether these proceedings were properly before the court in the absence of a requisite statement of facts and the accompanying documents verifying facts.

“An application for such leave must be made exparte to a divisional court, except in vacation when it may be made to a judge in chambers and must be supported by a statement setting out the names and description of the applicant,” they argued.

The lawyers also submitted that the notice of motion and accompanying documents were not served on Dr Mumba and therefore did not satisfy the provision requiring personal service, saying that the law requires that, “Notice of motion to commit a defendant must be served upon him personally.”

The law firm representing Leonard Banda, a PF losing candidate in the Petauke Central election in 2011, Ellis and Company contended that the proceedings were properly before the Supreme Court in the absence of leave being sought to commence contempt proceedings.

Justice Mumba adjourned the matter to a later date to be communicated for the ruling.

Among prominent politicians that attended the contempt hearing included NAREP president Elias Chipimo, Heritage Party leader Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda and MMD members of parliament.

MMD cadres too  thronged the Supreme Court grounds in solidarity of Dr. Mumba as they chanted aleyisa aleyisav aleyisa.