Sunday, June 23, 2024

Constitution Court Deputy President Recuses Herself from Handling Milingo’s Case

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CONSTITUTIONAL Court deputy president Margaret Munalula has recused herself from presiding over a matter in which former KCM provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu has challenged the revocation of his immunity from prosecution.

The court had earlier set January 31, 2023, as the date to hear the main matter. However, when it came up, Lungu’s lawyers asked the court to adjourn the hearing of the main matter to enable them to respond to an application that had just been filed by the State to dismiss his petition.

The majority of judges in the matter allowed the adjournment but justice Munalula delivered a dissenting ruling. In her ruling, the judge said she would not allow the application but would go ahead and hear the main matter.

During a court hearing, Thursday morning, Justice Munalula asked the state and defense if they were comfortable with her continuing to be part of the panel.

In response, State prosecutor Mandela Nkunika submitted that a dissenting ruling on an application before the court cannot be the basis for the judge to recuse herself.

“[The] first respondent’s position is that there is absolutely no reason why the ladyship should rescue yourself from the proceedings in response to the application before the court. It is the first respondent’s position that a dissenting ruling on an application before the court cannot be the basis for recuse. The court’s role in any proceedings where an application is made is to decide on that application by way of ruling,” said Nkunika.

“Currently, the matter is still ongoing and [there are] a number of applications which the court needs to decide, and at the end of the day, a decision by the court will be made for or against the party. It is submitted that recuse in such circumstances will set a bad precedent. Therefore, the court should continue and not recuse itself”.

Milingo through his lawyer, Jonas Zimba, submitted that justice should not only be said and done but seen.

“There is no application but a question. The procedure for dealing with such a question is set out under section 7(1) Judicial Code of Conduct Act No.30 of 1991. Once such a question arises, the officer raising the question ought not to be part of the team if we proceed and have a decision in the manner the court is constituted that such a decision will be against. For the question before us to have been asked, there is a serious conviction as regard to that person. It should also be noted that justice should not only be said and done it must have been seen. This court will note that the question asked today emanates from a decision from the previous sitting relating to two applications before this court,” said Zimba.

In her ruling, justice Munalula recused herself from the matter.

“Since it’s me who raised the question on whether parties are comfortable with me continuing on the panel, that the question emanated from myself, I, therefore, rescue myself from these proceedings, and the matter stands adjourned till the next court session,” ruled the court.

3 COMMENTS

  1. She has been threatened and forced to recuse herself by the upnd Mafias under hh directive. Hh has never and will never win a single case against anyone who was employed under pf. He is a sadist small boy.

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  2. She raised the question herself so as not to prejudice the outcome in the event the matter took a turn along her dissenting view…she was avoiding the situation the CJ currentil faces in a matter wherein if he did exercise impartiality in the light of others they argue he was conflicted this is a professioal move on her part…

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