Wednesday, May 09, 2012
By Bright Mukwasa
Tue 08 May 2012, 14:00 CAT
MALAWI High Court judge Lovemore Chikopa has promised a fair and balanced hearing for the three suspended Zambian judges.
President Sata on Monday last week suspended Supreme Court judge Philip Musonda and High Court judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga over their conduct in a civil case involving the Development Bank of Zambia as complaint and The Post Newspapers Limited, Mutembo Nchito and JNC holdings Limited as defendants.
President Sata consequently set up a tribunal to be led by judge Chikopa to investigate the alleged misconduct of the three judges.
Asked if he would accord the suspended judges a fair hearing, judge Chikopa said: "I have made that my hallmark ever since I started off as a judicial assistant. I make sure everybody gets the fairest of hearing. I will make sure about that.
Asked if he would not be politically influenced, judge Chikopa laughed and before saying: "It would be a very courageous politician would try to influence me laughter. I cannot blow my own horn so to speak. I would let others do that, those that are convinced that I am impartial and so on and so on will probably say so. For me I can only say that I will let what I have done so far to speak for me, my work here in Malawi."
Judge Chikopa, who was reluctant to delve into the details of the tribunal, said he had received official communication from the Zambian government and he would rather he made all communication through the tribunal itself.
He said as matters stood currently, he could only confirm receipt of the official letter and that when all technicalities were dealt with they would be "a lot of time for us to speak."
"Well as far as Zambia is concerned, I am very uninterested…and we are only hoping to have fruitful proceedings. For me, like I am saying now, it's a little tricky for me to speak. I know how people would want to get information. For now I can only say I have received the official communications and I am saying this because the Zambian High Commission here in Malawi has also confirmed that."
The tribunal shall generally inquire into the conduct of Justice Mutuna in relation to the manner in which he presided over the hearing and determination of the case of Development Bank of Zambia vs. Post Newspapers Limited, JCN Holdings Limited and Nchito.
Judge Chikopa has served at the Malawian bench for about 20 years.