The Law Association of Zambia says it is deeply perturbed by reports in the media indicating that Minister of Justice, Given Lubinda has stated that he will not comply with the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the case of LAZ vs Ngosa Simbyakula and 53 others, which ordered the former Ministers who had illegally stayed in cabinet after the dissolution of parliament to pay back what they earned during their illegal stay in office.
LAZ says failure to pay would be a violation of the law and has asserted that the unfortunate statements attributed to the Honourable Minister of Justice, if true, are a serious assault on the rule of law and constitutionalism in Zambia and are a recipe for anarchy.
In a statement, the LAZ Council said the rule of law demands that any decision of a court of law must be obeyed by all parties affected by it unless there is a stay of execution of the decision or unless the decision is overturned by an appellate court.
LAZ says it is seriously concerned that such statements are being attributed to the Minister of Justice, who should be in the forefront to champion the rule of law and respect for decisions of Zambia’s legitimately constituted courts.
It said if the statements attributed to the Minister are true, he must resign from his position as Minister of Justice because continuing in office with his stance on the matter would be utterly inappropriate and a perpetual blight on the rule of law in our country.
LAZ has also called on the President to dismiss any serving Minister or government official who is subject of the said judgment of the Constitutional Court and who refuses to pay back because not doing so would be a mockery on the Government’s stated commitment to the rule of law.
The Association has further called on the Attorney General, the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Secretary to the Treasury to ensure that the money that the Ministers were paid is recovered without further delay as the funds belong to the public.
In the meantime, LAZ says it will continue engaging its lawyers in the matter to pursue all lawful avenues to ensure that the judgment of the Constitutional Court is enforced.
But Justice Minister Given Lubinda in a statement reiterated that it would be premature to refund any money to the treasury before the matter involving LAZ and Ngosa Simbyakula and 63 others is concluded.
Mr Lubinda says following the dismissal of the application by the 64 by the Constitutional Court because the lawyer for the respondents omitted to apply for leave to the court for review of the judgement, there is a possibility of the respondents renewing their application.
The Kabwata law maker said the right of the 64 respondents to be heard is enshrined in the constitution.
Mr Lubinda said the 64 respondents will abide by the final decision of the Court after exercising their right to be heard and that as a Minister of Justice it is his constitutional responsibility to uphold the law and defend the constitution.