Kitwe High Court Judge Madam Justice Mercy Makubalo has set 14 March, 2019 as the date for the hearing of the application by Green Party President Peter Sinkamba for an order for leave to commence contempt proceedings against Mines Permanent Secretary Mr. Paul Chanda, the Director of Mines Safety Department Mr. Gideon Ndalama, and the Acting Director of Mines Safety Department Mr. Fred Banda.
The application is in respect of the judgment of the court delivered more than one year ago where Judge Makubalo ordered that Mr. Sinkamba is paid the sum of US$323,560.00 for the environmental audits which he conducted in 2009 on behalf the Mines Safety Department for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) under the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development.
“I am, however, of the firm view that the Petitioner (Mr. Sinkamba) is still owed US$323,560.00 and I direct that it must be paid with interest at the current bank lending rate from 16th February, 2009 up-to-date and hereinafter at six per cent until the whole debt is discharged,” Judge Makubalo directed in the judgment dated 27th November, 2017.
However, despite several reminders, the trio has not paid the interest and costs more than one year after the judgment was delivered.
In his affidavit in support of the summons for leave to file contempt proceedings, Mr. Sinkamba states that the judgment was served on Mr. Paul Chanda and Mr. Gidoen Ndalama and that the duo was advised by the Attorney General to liquidate the judgment debt plus interest and costs from the Environmental Protection Fund as the purpose of the Fund is to inter alia insulate the Government incurring costs related the EPF.
He adds that in April 2018 the Ministry of Mines paid the principle amount from EPF and that unfortunately, the said Permanent Secretary Mr. Paul Chanda, Director of the Mines Safety Department, and the Acting Director of the Mines Safety Department have defied to pay the interest and costs.
Mr. Sinkamba goes to state further in his affidavit that the trio has also defied directives from the Republican President, the Minister of Mines, the Secretary to the Treasury and the Attorney General to close the matter by paying the interest and costs as ordered by the court but trio has obstructed or indeed prevented the enforcement of the court directive on baseless grounds.
“That prior to the payment of the principle amount the said Permanent Secretary had deliberately misinformed the Attorney General that the EPF has no capacity to the accrued interest when in fact not as the EPF had over twenty million dollars (US$20,000,000.00) in its coffers,” Mr. Sinkamba stated in the affidavit.
He adds“…it is unfortunate that civil servants, who should be in the forefront in respecting court judgments, and the constitution of Zambia, can willfully choose to defy not only the court but also the President, Minister and Constitutional Office holder”.
“In the interest of preservation of respect of court decisions, and in the interest of justice to me, the said Paul Chanda, Gideon Ndalama and Fred Banda, be committed to prison for contempt of court so that they appreciate the gravity of the offence of contempt of court, and to serve as a lesson to other civil servants who are in the habit of defying court decisions,” Mr. Sinkamba states.