Government has transformed the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) into an independent National Prosecution Authority (NPA) which also targets to create over 1,700 jobs countrywide when fully functional.
All criminal prosecution functions would now be vested in the NPA to operate under the National Prosecution Authority Act, No. 34 of 2010.
Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba said prior to enactment of the NPA Act, the DPP used prosecutors from other law enforcement agencies to prosecute criminal cases in subordinate courts at district level.
Mr Kabimba was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the induction of NPA Board members where he challenged them to ensure cases recommended for prosecution had over a 90 per cent success rate if taken to court.
“NPA will promote the integrity and enhance the status of State advocates and prosecutors to promote honourable and good practices and increase the confidence of the public in State advocates and prosecutors,” he said.
NPA Board chairperson is DPP Mutembo Nchito while his vice is Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary Josephs Akafumba.
Other members include Public Service Management Division Permanent Secretary Velepi Mtonga, Ministry of Labour Permanent Secretary Trevor Kaunda, a bank and administrator Kelly Mwanamwale, a legal practitioner Dean Mwansa Mumba and Mbololwa Muyaba, chief
Mr Kabimba said the NPA would develop, promote and enforce internationally comparable practice standards for prosecutors and ensure rules and guidelines for professional ethics were responsive to effective administration of criminal justice.
He said it would implement an effective prosecution mechanism that would maintain the rule of law and contribute to fair and equitable criminal justice and effective protection of citizens against crime.
He said the NPA would also appoint State advocates and prosecutors and promote appropriate standards of practice by State advocates and prosecutors in criminal prosecution.
The authority would conduct research into various disciplines of law to study the role that prosecution mechanisms should play in establishing effective rule of law and human rights to bring the law in line with developments and best practices of other countries.
Mr Kabimba said the NPA was reinforced by President Michael Sata’s policy pronouncement on the establishment of the office of the District Attorney in all the districts.
“The establishment of the office of the District Attorney entails decentralisation of prosecution services in the quest to make prosecution of cases more efficient by enhancing the delivery and dispensation of justice,” he said.
He urged the Board to expedite implementation of President Sata’s policy pronouncement and that they should take a proactive approach in the administration of the criminal justice system.
He said the Board should have an objective state of mind coupled with fairness adding that they should maintain confidentiality as they carried out their core duties.
The Minister said in 2012, the Government approved the organisational structure of NPA that had a staff establishment of 1,712 positions spread across the country.
NPA currently existed in only five districts namely Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Livingstone and Kitwe.
Mr Kabimba said a robust staff capacity was competent to prosecute emerging crimes such as financial and white color cases which would entail intensive training programmes for the prosecutors.
Government would further revamp operations of the legal aid system to ensure a professional balance between NPA and legal aid.
He said the current delivery of criminal justice was besieged with many challenges and the Board should ensure cases recommended for prosecution had over 90 per cent of a success rate if taken to court.
He said people found misappropriating public funds among others politicians and public officers should be successfully prosecuted and convicted expeditiously.
And Mr Nchito assured Zambians that the Board would work diligently to ensure effective delivery of the criminal justice system and at the same time fighting corruption.
He said the Board would keenly follow all pertinent issues of public interest and was confident the NPA structure would be decentralised to create more jobs in line with Government’s desire.
In attendance at the induction were Attorney General Mumba Malila, Solicitor General Musa Mwenya, Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani and Anti-Corruption Commission director Rosewyn Wandi.