Wednesday, December 09, 2009
By Patson Chilemba
Wed 09 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Steven Lungu yesterday revealed that the association has written to the Attorney General, observing that the powers of the DPP have been usurped by the executive.
In an interview, Lungu reiterated his earlier position that it had now become more apparent that the decision not to appeal against former president Frederick Chiluba's acquittal did not emanate from the Director of Public Prosecutions DPP. Lungu said the situation had been excarcebated by statements emanating from those in the executive.
He said LAZ had written to the Attorney General because it appeared that the provisions of the Republican Constitution granted to the DPP had been usurped by the executive.
“If you remember what I said the last time I said 'it is becoming apparent that the DPP could not have made this decision'. It is seemingly appearing so that the provisions of the Constitution that gives the DPP the power to make decisions have been usurped, have been taken over by the executive.
We have communicated very, very clearly to the office of the Attorney General over this issue, expressing our views,” Lungu said.
“We have actually indicated our position to the Attorney General. What we want to do is we want to wait and see what the response of the Attorney General is before we can take our next step. That is not to say we are not doing anything about it under the Constitution because there is work that we are doing in relation to the same.”
Recently, Lungu said it had now become apparent that the decision not to appeal Chiluba's acquittal on corruption charges did not emanate from the DPP, following the statement from President Banda that he refused to appeal the former president's acquittal because lawyers at the dissolved Task Force on Corruption were selfish people who wanted to make money out of politics.
On the non-renewal of former Attorney General Mumba Malila's contract by President Banda, Lungu said Malila's contract came to an end, and any contract could be renewed or not renewed.
However, Lungu said when the Dora Siliya case came up, the President was on record as saying that he was going to reorganise the Attorney General's chambers.
He said Dominic Sichinga was the first one to be removed from the position of Solicitor General when he was appointed to serve as permanent secretary.
“We did issue a statement, at that particular time just after that statement was made by the President, that we would stand firm and defend constitutional office holders, that we believe the people that operate in these offices should act independently without any form of intimidation,” Lungu said.
“This is on record. We did say it then and we are going to say it now. We would not want to speculate that the decision not to renew the contract has got anything to do with Mr. Malila's action in that particular matter.”
Lungu insisted that people appointed to constitutional offices should be allowed to operate independently. He said Malila was a professional lawyer who performed admirably even before he was appointed Attorney General.
“We would like to commend him for the services that he rendered to the government of the Republic of Zambia,” Lungu said.
Asked if the decision not to renew Malila's contract could have been prompted by the manner he professionally handled himself over the Dora Siliya saga, Lungu responded:
“Our hope is that it has nothing to do with that. The circumstances would want to impute that, but we would want to believe strongly it has got nothing to do with the Dora Siliya but that it is just that the contract had come to an end, and the government decided not to renew it.”
Lungu also said LAZ would write to the Attorney General to seek clarification on the issues surrounding Dr Rodger Chongwe.