Saturday, September 19, 2009

DPP should have appealed Chiluba’s acquittal – LAZ

DPP should have appealed Chiluba’s acquittal – LAZ
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, September 19, 2009 5:12:11 PM

THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) yesterday said Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga should have appealed against former president Frederick Chiluba's acquittal because there are enough grounds for the appeal.

In an interview following Chiluba's acquittal on all corruption charges by the magistrate's court and the subsequent withdrawal of the appeal by Mchenga, LAZ president Stephen Lungu said Mchenga should have allowed the appeal to proceed.

"That was a matter that the DPP should have appealed. The DPP should have appealed that matter. We are very much aware that the Constitution gives the DPP the right to determine the path of the matter, but this matter is one matter of public interest. And going through [the judgment], he may have a different opinion, but going through the judgment, we tend to believe that there was quite good ground [for the appeal]," Lungu said.

"What I am trying to say is when one reads the judgment, one would then believe, looking at the evidence and what was read, there could have been good grounds to appeals."

Asked on the way forward on the matter especially that the stipulated two weeks in which one can appeal against a judgment elapsed when Mchenga said he was studying the matter, Lungu responded:

"Particularly that's the same question that we would ask. He did say that he would want to study the judgment; we know that he has had a copy of the judgment for some time because, yes, he did indicate from what we read that he needed to study the judgment before he could consider. But our view is that if he has considered that, it will be nice if he came out and explained."

Lungu said it would be good for Mchenga to allay people's anxieties by explaining the way forward on the matter.

"But in our view, looking at the judgment, it's a judgment that we feel he could have appealed," Lungu said.

Asked on what the people could do on the matter, Lungu responded: "Well, you see the problem that we've got here is you have got powers that are vested in one person and it is that person who must decide. The Constitution gives him that power. That is where our apprehension is on this particular [issue]."

Lungu said Mchenga derived his authority from the Constitution, therefore he should make his determination based on what the Constitution stipulated.

On Ndola High Court judge Munalula Lisimba's decision to dismiss the petition in which Simeza Sangwa and Associates petitioned the High Court to order Chief Justice Ernest Sakala and justice Peter Chitengi to vacate their offices having reached the retirement age of 65 in line with the Constitution, Lungu refused to comment on the matter, saying that would be subjudice because the matter was subject to an appeal.

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