LAZ

The Law Association of Zambia has advised President Edgar Lungu to consider relieving Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Ronald Chitotela of his duties.

The LAZ Council says it believes that the decision not to dismiss Mr. Chitotela’s does not support the fight against corruption, which the President has on numerous occasions publicly supported.

And the Association has insisted that Mr. Chitotela should resign from his ministerial position as it is not appropriate for him to continue serving as a Minister whilst facing criminal charges and appearing in court pending the determination of the matter.

LAZ also holds the view that prosecution of a sitting Minister in the courts of law cannot be effective.

The Anti-Corruption Commission on 5th February 2019 arrested and charged Mr. Chitotela, with two counts of concealing property suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to the laws of Zambia.

On 5th February, 2019, the Anti-Corruption Commission arrested and charged the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Honourable Ronald Chitotela, MP with two (2) counts of concealing property suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to Section 71 (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act, Number 19 of 2010.

Following the arrest and charging of Hon. Chitotela, certain sections of society called for the dismissal of the Minister by the President. However, the President refused to dismiss the Minister and in aid of his decision cited Article 18 of the Republican Constitution, which presumes an accused person innocent until proven guilty by the courts of law.

And LAZ says it has followed the issue and surrounding debate with keen interest. In doing so, we have had occasion to peruse the Constitution of Zambia as amended by Act No. 2 of 2016, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia; the Anti-Corruption Act, 2012; the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, Chapter 16 of the Laws of Zambia; and the Interpretation and General Provisions Act, Chapter 2 of the Laws of Zambia.

It noted that Given the framing of Article 116 of the Constitution, which, among other things, deals with the appointment of Ministers, we hold the view that the arrest and charging of a Minister for any criminal offence does not cause a vacancy in the office of Minister. A Minister serves at the President’s pleasure. Under any circumstances, it is only the President who can remove a Minister from office. However, the Constitution also gives any Minister the option to resign at any time.

“Our perusal of Section 18 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of

Conduct Act also reveals that there is no provision which compels the President to dismiss a Minister on account of being arrested and facing”, it said.

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48 COMMENTS

  1. ECL and Chitotela are one. You cannot divorce them. Chitotela does deals for ECL and firing Chitotela is the same as ECL poking his own eye. But great guidance LAZ.

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    • But we all know that Edgar’s knowledge of the law is limited. Does anyone still wonder why this guy was once disbarred by LAZ for stealing from a widow?

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    • In a decent country with decent leadership professional advice is usually heeded. But this is Zambia, and we have PF in power. Nothing decent about either of them.

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    • LT, you have really sanitized LAZ’s statement. The story you have crafted out of it sounds stronger than the actual statement. Hope LAZ won’t deny.

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    • #JourneyMan: You have outlined Zambia’s real problem in few words. This government has not respect for laws; it’s a government run by criminals for criminals. They are hard core opportunities who care nothing about your legitimate concerns. President Lungu does not care because around him are crooks in the likes of Valden Findlay who even planted his Chola boy Chella at State House as Projects whatever. What?

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    • All i can say is that the PF government made sure they protected themselves when amending the Constitution in 2016. They pulled a fast one on all the Zambians. Third term-Check, Presidential powers over dismissal of corrupt officers- Check. I wonder what else the amended Constitution has opened up for the powers that be. That is a flawed document and after 2021 the next govt should prioritize getting it sorted out.

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    • Yes, he should be dismissed. The President has a very lame excuse not to be dismissed or at the very least put on suspension while investigations are going on.

      Once exonerated he can then be reinstated, period. You can properly investigate someone still in office discharging all ministerial functions like he has presidential immunity.

      This is coming from me, the Number 1 Fan for ECL … Suspend Chitotela! Let’s roll.

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    • Conduct Act also reveals that there is no provision which compels the President to dismiss a Minister on account of being arrested and facing”, it said.

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    • LAZ you are toothless and one wonders why you are in existence
      Sesheke another two and half years of no development we’ll see if UPND will do your road vote wise bane not with emotions

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  2. LAZ are we going to be firing every suspect?i believe you are the best people to know that a suspect will remain a suspect until proven innocent or guilty,how many people are going to be fired because i personally believe everyone is a suspect, the law takes its course to determine what kind of a person is this FINSHI AMICHITA CHITOTELA PANTU NAIME UKO MWABA NAMA LYASHI you are suspects

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    • Thank you, Legendary. In Zambia we are used to the court of public opinion. Even LAZ can’t pinpoint which law quotes that a sitting minister would affect an investigation.

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    • You should never waiting for firing.

      When $ was being investigated over lap green she stepped down

      Thic chitotela must step aside voluntarily. Much as he is a thick skinned criminal we need semblance morality.

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    • As long as someone is arrested that is a prima facie reason to step aside until investigations are concluded so that you are not in a position to tamper with evidence. This is just common sense. Why do PF supporters insist on being this dull please??

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    • Anti Corruption Act of 2012. Section 47 (1) says:
      “47. (1) Subject to the applicable legal and administrative procedures relating to the right to justice and a fair hearing applicable to public officers under their conditions of service, a public officer who is charged with corruption shall be suspended, at half pay, with effect from the date of the charge.” For you ba Zambian Citizen since you do not read widely.

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    • @Zambian citizen. We all know Chitotela is a thief. He was cited in the FIC report for having USD 6million and ZMW17million which cant be explained. He was a police constable just recently, how did he get those millions in two years? Thats not the court of public opinion. Those are facts.
      You are an intelligent guy, I don’t understand how you can defend people like Chitotela. Stuff is in the public domain baba. Let’s be upright and be on the side of what’s right. Being loyal to criminals is just sad. It’s why Zambia will continue in poverty. Our brothers are starving and our sisters in rural areas are dying because of no medication in hospitals and we want to protect those that steal. Sad.

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  3. Ba LAZ naimwe grow some balls, do your JOB right for once. What happened to upholding professional ethics. Nangu limbi job security reigns supreme.

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  4. Neither the President nor LAZ have made reference to the Anti Corruption Act of 2012. Section 47 (1) says:
    “47. (1) Subject to the applicable legal and administrative procedures relating to the right to justice and a fair hearing applicable to public officers under their conditions of service, a public officer who is charged with corruption shall be suspended, at half pay, with effect from the date of the charge.”

    Rather than fire Chitotela, therefore, he should instead be suspended pending conclusion of the investigations or prosecution as provided by the law pursuant to which he was arrested and charged.

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    • He, he, he. As lawyers say, law is an ass. Beans Jean Bonheur, a minister is not a public officer. LAZ should have clarified on this misconception, nomba fye Ba LAZ ba these days kaya fye na research.

      Go to Article 266 of the Constitution of 2016 and check out the interpretations. “public officer” means a person holding or acting in a public officer, but does not include a State officer, councillor, a Constitutional office holder, a judge and a judicial officer.

      Next go to “State officer”. According to Article 266, this means a person holding or acting in a State office.

      Next go to “State office”. According to Article 266 this includes the office of the President, Vice President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Members of Parliament, Minister and Provincial Minister.

      The…

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    • So Chitotela can not be prosecuted under the ACC Act. He is not a public office. It’ll be illegal to do so….hehehe! This is Zambia for you!

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  5. When a rich man is caught stealing they quote the constitution, when a poor voter like me is in such a situation then am guilty before proven guilty in short am guilty even before i have committed a crime. These gods of society are so powerful.

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  6. Comment: Lets help the president save his name by forcing him to drop Hon chitotela. With pressure from all angle,he will finally drop his chola boy. This country is ours and we should not allow anyone to destroy it with impunity. Enough is enough. As a people, we neef to be united .

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    • Save what name? Lungu has already proven how ineffective and incompetent he is numerous times over. There is no name to save.

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  7. Can this article be amended and include details like who issued the statement on behalf of LAZ. Why is LAZ playing hide and seek. Linda Kasonde could sign and release statements. Currently we have cowards who can not come out. I agree with you LAZ but come out

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  8. I wonder how bamayo ba Sumaili feels sitting next to the pharisees in cabinet who include po.rno artistists, drunkards, thieves and murderers and then she comes out and start preaching morals to us. Wabuntu dances nacked but Sichalwe trades in that too.

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  9. How can an investigation be carried out effectively when the person being investigated is still very active and driving arond with our flag still flying on his ministerial car? Please do not block the ACC from doing their job proffesionaly. Chitotela should be send on forced leave ntil the court finds him guilty or innocent. Let us not frustrate ACC and make them look unproffesional.

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  10. Can some Civil Society Orgs organise a protest march. We can’t just sit kwati tuli fipuba. Laura Miti where are you Ba Tiz. Where are all those vocal Ngo’s. Ba Miyanda where are you. Please people this is our Country, we can’t just sit on our bums

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    • @Maria, I agree with you in totality. The only thing here is to protest. We can’t sit back and watch our once beautiful country being turned into a sh…t hole by these riff raffs.

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    • Nice idea, unfortunately, a permit won’t be granted, and if granted be ready to meet PF police and cadres. And also prepare a 10 pin for bailing yourself.

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  11. Edger Lungu got a Distinction in his Bachelor Degree in Law award at UNZA. Many who question his credentials have never even been accepted to UNZA. Mind you entry to UNZA before it was recently opened to all meant you needed nothing less than B+ for an average of six subjects. So only the Creme de la Creme of students in the country made entered those doors. Let alone got a Distinction at graduation.

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  12. Meanwhile PF will respond to LAZ by telling them that they are jealous and envious of Chitotela and should stop porking their dirty nose in cases that are already before the courts of law, otherwise they will cited for contempt. Besides the ACC and the judiciary are independent institution which are very free and able to prosecute a minister. Besides they carry out their duties without interference from the head os state who respects the institutions.

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  13. Utter nonsense coming from a legal body!!!

    Innocent until proven. These people are insane and tearing Zambia apart with their alliances and aligiances with UPND and interfering Westerners.
    Again I give an example coming from UK of an MP, Onasanya, who was investigated by police, tried and found guilty, given jail term all while she was a sitting MP and still is until her appeal is heard. She’s only advised to resign for the good of her Labour party. If Chitotela was UPND, they would not be saying this. They certainly did not say HH should step down as party head!

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    • @6 flag Jean Bonheur, has found a clause j. The ant-corruption charter, recommending suspension. I think that a good advice that Mr Chitotela must consider on his conscience. Maybe he can take pressure from the President who has been a staunch supporter.

      There is no other compelling reason for him to resign but he must feel within himself uncomfortable and maybe he can take some time off to contemplate the case and prepare his defence.

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  14. And where is Jay Gay and his fellow trib.al, Mr Spaka? Okay I see, as prominent trib.als obviously they are celebrating Sesheke where they perfected the arts of violence and the occult.

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  15. Country men, it makes more sense to immediately suspend some one if the arrest is directly connected to you line of duty, eg missing funds in your office, abuse of authority etc. Imagine you an employee in a company and you happen to stumble or buy a new car which everyone assumes is not commensurate with your earnings maybe because you had a ka deal somewhere. Should you be fired for that or shouldn’t the organization wet to establish whether you stole before they fire you? Let’s be objective how we look at things

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  16. I agree that the President must suspend Honourable Suspect Chitotela, it is the only way and it is civilised behaviour. This is a no brainer Your Excellency.

    If the President does not act as advised, people will be justified to conclude that he has an interest in the matter. Even from the logistics point of view, the honourable suspect will spend a lot of time not only appearing court but thinking heavily about how to defend himself and even how to use government machinery to wriggle out of it. What time does he work? Or concentrate on his work? Do you think that he wants to choose to go to jail? No Mr President.

    In fact having explained the above situation to the President, I now DIRECT him to suspend the Honourable Suspect Minister.

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  17. For this one you dont have a choice Mr President. It is one of those rare moments when Zambians, good trib.als and bad one s happen to be on the same side, even if those seemingly in your camp don’t show it for fear of vengeance.
    Show leadership Mr President.
    And remember, as my servant I have DIRECTED you.

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