Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lawyer reports judge to ACC

Lawyer reports judge to ACC
By Moses Kuwema
Wed 12 Dec. 2012, 12:00 CAT

LAWYER John Sangwa has called for the arrest of Ndola High Court judge-in-charge Munalula Lisimba on charges of corruption and abuse of authority of his office as a judicial officer.

And the Judicial Complaints Authority (JCA) has acknowledged receipt of the complaint lodged by Sangwa and that of his three clients against Lisimba.

"In accordance with the provisions of section 26(2) of the Judicial (Code of Conduct) Act No. 13 of 1999, as amended by Act No. 13 of 2006, your complaint shall be laid before the Authority for consideration," stated the JCA letter dated 11th December 2012 and signed by Dr Winnie Mwenda.

According to a complaint letter dated December 11, 2012 and addressed to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) director general, Sangwa of Simeza Sangwa and Associates Advocates called on the Commission to investigate and possibly arrest justice Munalula.

"Since I applied for His Lordship's recusal in a matter and lodged a complaint against His Lordship with the Judicial Complaints Authority, I have received information from some lawyers both in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt who have similar complaints against His Lordship.

This has caused me to believe that the events outlined in my affidavit, copy of which I attached, are not isolated but part of a pattern of behaviour which not only violates the provisions of the Judicial Code of Conduct Act, but also the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act going back many years," he stated in his letter.

Sangwa stated that most of the lawyers he had spoken to were unwilling to go on record for fear of retribution not only from His Lordship Lisimba, but other justices in a similar position or sympathetic to His Lordship.
He stated that he was of the belief that given the powers and resources of the ACC, it should be possible to overcome constraints and establish the veracity of the allegations.

"May I take the liberty to suggest that investigations should not be limited to the cases I have referred to in my affidavit but extend to all the cases allocated to His Lordship since his appointment as a puisne judge. However, special attention should be given to cases in which decisions are pending and those, which have been discontinued. I am available to attend on you for further discussion of this matter if need be," Sangwa stated.

The board of directors for Zambezi Portland Cement Limited and their lawyer, Sangwa, have accused Lisimba of bias in the manner he was handling matters involving the company.

According to a complaint letter dated December 6, 2012 and addressed to the Secretary of the Judicial Complaints Authority, Simeza Sangwa and Associates, on its own behalf and on behalf of Dr Rajan Mahtani, Joan Craven and David Kamalarajan Kanaganayagan, stated that they were ready to clarify their allegations.

"We hereby, in line with the provisions of Section 25 of the Judicial Code of Conduct Act No. 13 of 1999, as amended by Act No. 13 of 2006, submit a complaint against His Lordship Mr. Justice Munalula Lisimba, the allocating Judge of the High Court at Ndola," the letter read in part. "The basis of the complaint is that His Lordship has conducted himself in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of Section 6 of the said Act."

The complaint arises from an ongoing court case between Antonio Ventriglia and Manuela Ventriglia as the first and second plaintiffs, respectively, and the Eastern and Southern African Development Bank and Robert Mbonani Simeza, in his capacity as Receiver of Zambezi Portland Cement Limited in receivership and Zambezi Portland Cement Limited as the first, second and third defendant respectively.

Sangwa in his affidavit of December 4, 2012 which was filed in the Ndola High Court registry, asked that the order for leave to issue contempt proceedings against the complainants be set aside and that the court case be transferred to another judge on account of bias.

"On the 29th day of November, 2012, an application was made before this court, exparte for leave to commence committal proceedings against me, Mrs. Joan Craven, and Mr. David Kamalarajan Kanaganayagan," he submitted. "This court on the same day granted the ex- parte order for the plaintiffs to commence committal proceedings against me, Mrs. Joan Craven and Mr. David Kamalarajan Kanaganayagan."

Sangwa stated that the said proceedings were being commenced against him on the premise that he was the defendants' advocate in the case and also as an advocate for Finsbury Investments Limited, a company that was not a party to the proceedings.

"Mr. Justice Munalula Lisimba, who has been adjudicating in this case and who granted the said order for leave to commence committal proceedings dated 29th November 2012, has conducted himself or behaved in a manner, which has convinced me that he is biased in that he has been providing benefits to the plaintiffs by failing to be impartial in the determination of the many applications, which have been presented by the plaintiffs in this and other cases, in which the plaintiffs are directly involved or have interest in the outcome," he stated.

Sangwa asserted that he believed judge Lisimba was biased because owing to his pole position at the Ndola High Court, he had been allocating to himself cases involving the plaintiffs or those which they had an interest either directly or indirectly.

He then outlined the number of cases that judge Lisimba had allocated to himself, including the one where Antonio and his three sons, Claudio, Daniele and Valerio were recently deported after they were declared prohibited immigrants, an action which compelled them to commence judicial review proceedings on November 21, 2012.

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