Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tribunal to probe Kabimba sworn in
By Francis Lungu
Mon 13 Jan. 2014, 15:20 CAT

ACTING Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda this morning urged the tribunal set up to probe justice minister Wynter Kabimba to ensure tenets of democracy are upheld in their investigations.

Justice Chibesakunda said during a swearing-in ceremony for the tribunal at the Supreme Court that Zambia was a budding democracy whose values had to be adhered to.

Those sworn in as part of the tribunal to probe Kabimba are acting Supreme Court judge Evans Hamaundu and High Court judges Gertrude Chawatama and Justine Chashi.

Mathews Zulu, who is acting director of the Supreme Court, was sworn in as secretary of the tribunal.

The tribunal was appointed in line with section 14 (1) of the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act Cap 16 of the Laws of Zambia.

"...distinguished appointees, you have been entrusted with a very noble task of enquiring into matters which are stated on the letters of appointment. We are witnessing in Zambia a growing democracy and the tenets of democracy have to be adhered to. I welcome you to these appointments and I wish you good luck," said justice Chibesakunda.

In this matter, President Michael Sata instructed the setting up of a tribunal to probe Kabimba after former Solwezi Central MMD member of parliament Lucky Mulusa and political activist Brebner Changala petitioned justice Chibesakunda to set up a tribunal to probe the justice minister.

Mulusa, who lost his Solwezi Central seat through Supreme Court nullification owing to corruption, and Changala who was recently released by the court after the State entered a nolle prosequi in his drug trafficking case, demanded that Kabimba explains why he had copied Justice Chibesakunda government's legal opinion offered to him in his capacity as justice minister by Solicitor General Musa Mwenye on the nullification of the Petauke Central, Malambo and Mulobezi parliamentary seats by the Supreme Court.

In a letter dated December 24, 2013 addressed to justice Chibesakunda, Mulusa and Changala applied that the tribunal be established to investigate whether or not Kabimba as justice minister had breached his oath of secrecy when he released a classified government legal opinion for use by the Patriotic Front.

The two also wanted the justice minister to be investigated on whether or not the letter on a PF letterhead he wrote to the lawyers of the Patriotic Front and copied to justice Chibesakunda constituted interference with the independence of the Judiciary as guaranteed by the Constitution.

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