THE Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether the public can join in reclaiming the K14 billion Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan obtained by the defunct Zambian Airways which its directors, Mutembo Nchito who is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), his business partner Fred M’membe, Post Newspaper owner and Nchima Nchito are refusing to pay back because they believe technicalities have absolved them.
This follows an application by the Zambian Voice on an appeal against the High Court Justin Chashi’s ruling where he refused to have Mr Chilufya Tayali join in defending the public money.
In his ruling, Judge Chashi said the matter was not a proper case for Mr Tayali to join because the DBZ loan was not a contract to which he was privy, but the Zambian Voice executive director has appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling because he feels the public to which the government is accountable has a right to protect the money which if not defended will be lost.
He noted that the government in the past attempted to discontinue the proceedings and that it had become expedient and necessary to join in the case to ensure public interest was taken into account.
He fears that unless the Supreme Court intervenes and allows public interest the government may succeed in removing the controversial K14 billion DBZ loan obtained by ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’ as decided Judge Nigel Mutuna whose ruling was overturned.
The defendants for DBZ have been arguing that the Supreme Court had already ruled on the matter and the matter was therefore barred by the doctrine of res judicata adding that Mr Tayali did not have the locus standi in his application.
The defendants contended in their arguments that Mr Tayali was behaving like a meddlesome private Attorney General frowned upon by the courts.
“As the matter before this court stands, although a lot of serious question have been raised by the applicant, this matter does not strike me to be of public interest. Even if it was supposed to be, the applicant does not meet the requisite tests of public interest. This is not a proper case for joining of the applicant to the proceedings as a party. The application is refused,” Judge Chashi said. But Mr Tayali says it is his considered view that many Zambians who were tax payers, would be adversely affected by any decision of the court especially in view of the fact that the Attorney General who was legally recognized as the custodian of public interest was not a party to the action.