THE Lusaka High Court has halted the proceedings of the Annel Silungwe led-tribunal constituted by President Edgar Lungu to investigate embattled Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito’s alleged professional misconduct pending the outcome of the judicial review hearing.
Lusaka High Court judge Mubanga Kondolo has however not lifted the suspension of Mr Nchito but has ordered that Mr Nchito should commence judicial review and that the matter be conducted expeditiously.
Earlier yesterday, the tribunal had commenced its formal proceedings at which Mr Nchito applied for an adjournment so that he could study the witnesses’ statements that had been furnished to him by the State.
Tribunal chairman Justice Silungwe adjourned the proceedings to today but the matter has since been overtaken by Judge Kondolo’s order to stop the proceedings until after the judicial review and the interparte hearing scheduled for June 11 2015.
Mr Justice Kondolo said yesterday that proceedings of the Annel Silungwe-led tribunal should be stayed until the judicial review hearing was concluded or until further orders were issued.
Following the ruling by Justice Silungwe that the preliminary issues raised by Mr Nchito had no merit and basis, the suspended DPP went to court and applied that the proceedings of the tribunal be halted and that the ruling of Justice Ngulube to have the proceedings in camera be annulled.
Mr Nchito in his preliminaries also demanded that former Chief Justices Mathew Ngulube and Ernest Sakala should recuse themselves because according to him, the two Justices were biased.
Mr Nchito also demanded that the terms of references should have been amended by President Lungu, the appointing authority alleging that the terms were incompetent.
But yesterday, Justice Kondolo in his order granting leave to apply for judicial review did not stay the suspension of Mr Nchito.
On May 22, Mr Nchito applied for judicial review challenging the tribunal’s refusal to hold its proceedings in the open, the recusal of two tribunal members Mathew Ngulube and Ernest Sakala.
“It is directed that the decisions and proceedings of the tribunal be stayed until after the hearing of the summons for judicial review or until further orders. It is further ordered that the applicant’s suspension is not stayed. It is hereby ordered that the interparte hearing shall be heard on June 11, 2015 at 10:00 hours,” Justice Kondolo ruled.
Judge Kondolo directed that the application for judicial review should be made by the originating summons to him in chambers and that the hearing of the summons is expedited. He ruled that he made the orders upon reading the notice and affidavit of Mr Nchito sworn on May 22, 2015.
Justice Kondolo said he had made his orders after hearing Mr Nchito’s lawyers for leave to apply for judicial review for an order of certiorari, in respect of the decision of the tribunal set up to probe Mr Nchito.
Certiorari is an order issued by a superior court, directing an inferior court, tribunal, or other public authority to send the record of a proceeding for review.