Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Lusaka Magistrate Court refuse to cite Wynter Kabimba for contempt of court

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PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba
PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba

THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has refused to cite Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba for contempt of court.

The court has instead advised defence lawyers representing MMD president Nevers Mumba to make an “appropriate” application if the matter is to proceed.

This is in a matter in which Dr Mumba is charged with alleged abuse of authority of office and mismanagement of public funds involving over 156,000 Canadian dollars or K832,941,456.65.

When the matter came up for continuation of trial before chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda, the state said it was not ready to proceed because the prosecutor handling the matter was bereaved.

Defence lawyer Makebi Zulu said he had no objection to the adjournment as the prosecution had given a valid reason.

Mr Zulu, however, made an application that the court should summon Mr Kabimba whom he accused of commenting on a matter which was still before the court.

He said according to an article which appeared in The Post newspaper on July 24, 2013, Mr Kabimba was quoted making reference to Dr Mumba’s matter.

Mr Kabimba is reported to have said the MMD leadership was in court because it stole money.

“The MMD is in court because their leaders Rupiah Banda and Nevers Mumba have stolen money,” Mr Zulu quoted Mr Kabimba as saying.

Mr Zulu said a statement like this should not come from a minister of Justice who swore to uphold the constitution of the country and that the defence does not take kindly to such statements.

He said the statement is demeaning to the court and tends to show that justice is unlikely to be done in the matter.

Mr Zulu said President Sata also made reference to the matter in court, according to an article which appeared in the Zambia Daily Mail on July 21, 2013.

“Seeing that those who are supposed to protect our constitution have found our client guilty, we are constrained to apply for contempt against the President but we will reiterate our earlier application to call Mr Kabimba to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt,” Mr Zulu said.

And another defence lawyer Irene Kunda said it is “unprofessional and highly inappropriate” for a lawyer to demean the court and urged the court to take action against lawyers who comment on matters that are in court.

In his ruling, magistrate Banda said the court cannot be swayed by comments made by lawyers and politicians but that matters are dealt with on merit and on the basis of evidence brought to court.

Mr Banda said commenting on a matter that is in court is inappropriate, irregular and offends the law and that members of the public must resist the urge to talk about issues that are in court.

He advised the defence to make an appropriate application if they feel that what was said outside the court proceedings was contemptuous.

“The defence can make an appropriate application for contempt if indeed the minister of Justice said what he is reported to have said,” he said.

In the earlier matter before the court, Mumba is alleged to have failed to comply with procedures in receiving and disbursing CAD$122,229.85, illegally awarded a contract for the electrical works (CAD$9, 000) and carpeting (CAD$ 19, 850) at the Zambian High Commissioner’s residence to Restcon Construction Services and Argos Carpet Limited respectively. Mumba is also alleged to have awarded a contract for the construction of a deck at the Zambian High Commissioner’s residence valued at CAD$5, 248 to Stanmark Construction.

16 COMMENTS

    • As far as I’m concerned, Winter (mature spelling) is above the law just like H.E. the president.

      I don’t bother with them at all.

  1. This is confusing indeed, A-Banda. What are you saying – you agree that citizens should not comment on matters before courts, at the same time refusing the application to cite Summer for contempt, saying they should submit another application if they so wish. What is the problem with the citation requested yesterday, is it becuase it was made as a ‘by -the -way’, and not a stand alone?

    • Let’s try and be fair to the “gate keepers” of our Laws. I think the Judge has not refused to cite Kabimba but has asked the defence to make an application so that the Court can consider it. Its all about process and if you want to introduce anything to a Court of Law, you must make an application. I think the headline is misleading…

  2. In all fairness, Kabimba can only be cited for contempt of court if indeed he did say what the media and the defense are asserting he did, and I think the magistrate is right to advise the defense team to make an appropriate application so that all evidence can be tested before the court, lest Kabimba claims he was misquoted. If it is proved that he did comment on the matter whilst knowing it is before the court, he should be cited, and RB’s and Mumba’s cases thrown out of court. I strongly encourage the defense team to make an appropriate application as advised by Judge Banda. Otherwise all will remain hearsay even if the whole country heard Kabimba’s comments.

    • No not a good comment magistrate banda is afraid of `bitting the finger that feeds him`… if it was kabimba in court or any other beloved PF cadre and anyone from the opposition made that statement be assured contempt cition would have been passed!!!!!!

    • @4.2 Ndobo, i usually find your comments objective and informative but you’ve missed the point in Klokodylo’s comment.

    • I hear you but when a matter is before the court of law,,,one either has to completely avoid making a public comment about it or make a mindfully fair statement about it. my point of disagreement is that kabimba said `MMD leadership stole thats why the are in court“ thats contempt because the comment was made public, then printed and published in a `public` papers… and the case is already before the court, i mean kabimba must be cited,,not making a fresh application
      i would understand maybe if kabimba used the word `allegedly` in his statement. ..
      but I tell you what!! there is alot of political pressure in this case, therefore strange things will happen

    • @Ndolo
      Although you have a point and probably right (in as far as political interest and possible influence), I do think Kolokodylo is on cue. Courts can only rule on what’s before them and unless Magistrate is fully aware of the comments or article in the post he cannot cite Kabimba on the say of the Defence Lawyers. Don’t forget that many have abandoned reading the Post. To advise that an application be made is the best way to protect himself (from being seen as mischievious) and also following the courts rules in introducing matter into Court. A point blank “No” would have exposed his loyalty.

  3. Perhaps this man had begged HE MCS to appoint him Minister of Justice to shield himelf from going to jail due to his carelessness. If he had remained SG only he probably would have been in jail for his recklessness and overrating of his powers. Anyway, as they say, we all account for our actions one day or the other.

  4. in serious countries contemp of court is punishable, few months in jail or a steep fine, but here awe sure,…

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