THE UK Court of Appeals dismissed an earlier judgment delivered by High court judge Peter Smith which found second Republican president Frederick Chiluba and seven others liable for theft of US$46million.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals of UK, the equivalent of the Supreme Court in Zambia refused to uphold the verdict of Judge Peter Smith because it had not met the basic minimum requirements for a conviction. The UK Court of Appeals described Judge Smith’s judgment as lacking basic requirements of a decent judgment.
Despite the dismissal by the UK court of Appeal, this is the same judgment which the Zambian attorney general was trying to register in Zambia to be enforced.
According to the judgment of the Court of Appeals made available to the Times of Zambia, Lord Justices Tuckey, Lloyd and Lawrence Collins ruled on July 31, 2008 that the verdict by Judge Smith did not meet the minimum standards of a court trial.
Meer Care & Desai (a law firm), Naynesh Gunvant Desai and Mohamad Iqbal Meer, appealed against the judgment of Justice Smith. Meer Care and Desai, is the law firm that was alleged to have received some money from the Zamtrop account. The attorney general of Zambia was the claimant and respondent in the appeals hearing.
At the time the appeal was being lodged in UK, the same judgment was before the courts of law in Lusaka to secure its enforcement. In delivering judgment in the appeals case, the Lord justices ruled:
“We allow Mr Meer’s appeal against the judge’s finding that he was liable to Zambia in conspiracy and on the basis of dishonest assistance. We will set aside the judge’s orders against Mr Meer and therefore also against Mr Desai and the firm, in both his orders dated 4 May 2007 and 29 June 2007, and we dismiss the claim against Mr Meer, Mr Desai and the firm”.
The court also held that Mr Meer’s appeals against the orders of Mr Justice Peter Smith of 4 May 2007 and 29 June 2007 be allowed. The court also refused an application by the attorney general for leave to appeal to the House of Lords .
The attorney general was also ordered to pay costs of the trial to Mr Meer and Mr Desai and a further four fifths of Mr Meer’s costs of the appeal case. He was further ordered to pay Mr Meer a sum of 300,000 pounds as interim payment on account of costs .
In delivering the Judgment on 31st July 2010 the court stated that;
“This is the judgment of the court. It is given in relation to appeals arising from two orders made by Mr Justice Peter Smith following a long and unusual trial conducted between 31 October 2006 and 27 February 2007.
By the proceedings the attorney general of Zambia, on behalf of the Republic of Zambia, sought to establish civil liability on the part of up to 20 individuals and companies, to make good losses suffered by Zambia as a result of corrupt practices during the term of office of the former president, Dr Frederick Chiluba.
The present appeals are by two of the defendants, partners in the firm of solicitors, Meer Care & Desai, Mr Meer and Mr Desai.’’
The Supreme Court dismissed the findings of the Justice Peter Smith of the High Court when he established that;
“In respect of both conspiracies the judge held that Dr Chiluba, Mr Xavier Chungu and Ms Chibanda all acted in breach of fiduciary duties owed by them to Zambia, and they were also parties to conspiracies to defraud Zambia of money both by the Zamtrop conspiracy and by the BK conspiracy.
In turn, he held that Mr Kabwe (for his part in both conspiracies) and Mr Soriano (as regards the BK conspiracy) were in breach of fiduciary duty and had dishonestly assisted the breaches of fiduciary duty on the part of the primary conspirators, as well as participating in more specific conspiracies relating to the sums which they received or controlled.”
He ordered them to pay US$46million deemed to have been defrauded from the republic of Zambia.
The attornery general sought to register the judgement of Judge Smith in the Zambian courts for it to be enforced.
But on Friday 13th August 2010, High Court Judge, Evans Hamaundu refused to register the London Judgment citing the absence of laws to support such an action.
[Times of Zambia]