Lusaka High Court Judge Mwila Chitambo has ordered a stay of the arrest warrant issued on DPP Mutembo Nchito
The Judge has also ordered that the warrant that was issued by the Chongwe magistrate be transmitted to the High Court for review.
Judge Chitambo further directed that the said warrant and any prosecution accidental thereto be stayed until after the hearing of the sermons for judicial review or until further action.
Yesterday, the Chongwe Subordinate Court issued a warrant of arrest for Mr Nchito for alleged misconduct and violation of the laws of Zambia.
This follows a complaint by former Finance deputy minister Newton Nguni that Mr Nchito faces 11 counts of criminal conduct, abuse of authority of office and uttering false documents.
Mr Nchito allegedly involved himself in these activities prior to and during his stay in office as DPP.
This is the first time that the holder of the office of DPP in Zambia is facing arrest over criminal charges.
Mr Nguni of Plot Number 297/401a, Saint Bonaventure in Lusaka filed the complaint in the Chongwe subordinate court today, pursuant to Section 90 of the criminal procedure code CAP 88 of the laws of Zambia.
Among the complainants is that Mr Nchito had on various occasions allegedly behaved in a manner that violated the Zambian laws, hence his continuation in office as DPP undermined the integrity of the criminal justice system and was inimical to the interests of the State.
Mr Nguni alleged that Mr Nchito between October 1, 2011 and November 30, 2011 falsely swore and made a false declaration before the Parliamentary Select Committee in the National Assembly chaired by Lucky Mulusa at a time when the accused was seeking a job as DPP.
This misled the Parliamentary Select Committee to make positive recommendations on his application for the job.
Mr Nguni alleged that in the months between January and July 2011, the accused did engage in procuring execution of documents by false pretences whereby, by false and fraudulent representation as to the nature, contents and operation of a document, namely, an Order of Court did procure the execution of the said Order of Court under cause number 1998/HP/2097 before Supreme Court Judge Gregory Phiri, who was sitting as High Court Judge then, thereby misleading the judge to erroneously sign the said Order and in the process subverting the course of justice.
The complainant alleged that on March 13, 2012 the accused did abuse his authority of office when he entered a nolle prosequi in a case of the People and Shubert Sinkala without even seeing the evidence from the complainant Lewis Chisanga Mosho and indeed without even having the courtesy to liaise with the complainant aforesaid as regards the complainant’s meritorious complaint to the Magistrate.
Mr Nchito is on August 20, 2013, alleged to have abused the authority of his office by mischievously entering a nolle prosequi in a case of drug trafficking involving The People and Brebner Changala and Agness Kawandami before magistrate Aridah Chulu after the said accused had connived and instigated officers from the Drug-Enforcement Commission (DEC) to plant illicit drugs on Mr Changala and Ms Kawandami.
“These manoeuvres came after DEC had, on the advice of the DPP, swapped vermox tablets (also called Mebendazole) used for deworming human beings found in Ms Kawandami’s belongings with what was said to be methamphetamine (ecstacy),” Mr Nguni stated.
Mr Nguni further stated that the accused did engage himself in fraudulent contracting of debt contrary to Section 357 of the Companies Act Cap 388 of the laws of Zambia whereby the accused, as chief executive officer of Zambian Airways, was party to the contracting of a debt by Zambian Airways knowing that, at the time the debt was being contracted, he had no reasonable or probable ground of expectation of the company’s ability to pay the said debt to the creditors such as, inter alia, Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ).
“The accused also behaved in a contemptuous manner before the Puisne Judge Nigel Kalonde Mutuna contrary to Section 116 (1) (a) (i) of the Penal Code Cap 87 of the lLaws of Zambia whereby the accused jointly and whilst acting together with Fred M’membe and Nchima Nchito showed excessive disrespect and discourtesy in speech, manner and indeed committed acts of intentional disrespect to judicial proceedings and to the said judge before whom such proceedings were being had or taken,” Mr Nguni stated.
“I am, in view of the foregoing, and by virtue of this written complaint under my hand, desirous to institute or commence criminal proceedings, as I now hereby do, against the accused person pursuant to Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 88 of the laws of Zambia,” Mr Nguni stated.