Zambia: Appeal against FJT withdrawn

zambia_frederick_chilubaTHE State yesterday withdrew the notice of appeal filed by prosecutors from the Taskforce on Corruption regarding the planned challenge of the acquittal of former president, Frederick Chiluba (pictured).

Dr Chilubas lawyer, Robert Simeza confirmed the development in an interview in Lusaka.

What I know is that they have withdrawn the notice of appeal against Dr Chilubas acquittal, though no reasons have been given as to why they have decided to withdraw. One can only speculate that it is because there were no instructions from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), he said.

Dr Chiluba had said he was not scared of the legal challenge against his acquittal by the Taskforce on Corruption but wanted the institution to be professional in the handling of the case, his spokesperson, Emmanuel Mwamba has said.

Mr Mwamba said in Lusaka that Dr Chiluba had no difficulty with the appeal but did not like the manner the prosecution team was handling the matter.

Mr Mwamba said this on Muvi Television monitored in Lusaka on Tuesday evening during a live programme where he featured with Women for Change executive director Emily Sikazwe and a Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba.

He said the move by former Taskforce executive chairman Max Nkole to instruct lawyers to file the grounds of appeal to a higher court against the consent of the DPP was allegedly a sign of incompetence on the part of the Taskforce.

He denounced the Taskforce claiming the institution was a goldmine, which only enriched few prosecutors saying it should be closed since Dr Chiluba had been acquitted of all corruption charges.

However, Ms Sikazwe said that cases against the former head of State could only be said to have been concluded when the Supreme Court, which was the highest court of the land declared so.

Mr Kabimba wondered why the appeal of Dr Chiluba had become a controversial issue when it was on record that Dr Chiluba was currently fighting for the judgment of his wife who had been convicted and sentenced.

Mr Kabimba said the Government should not silence the people to debate the merits and demerits of the Chiluba case to ensure that justice was done and seen to be done.

Meanwhile, Forum for Leadership Search (FLS) executive director Edwin Lifwekelo said the prosecutors at the Taskforce should also be relieved of their duties, especially that they were also being investigated over the Zambian Airways saga.

Reacting to the non-renewal of Mr Nkoles contract by the Government, Mr Lifwekelo said the body must be disbanded because it had allegedly failed to perform.

Mr Lifwekelo said the Taskforce on Corruption had been an embarrassment because it had deliberately failed to investigate and prosecute cases in good time.

He said Mr Nkoles disregard of the directives from the DPP was recipe for anarchy and should not be allowed.

He said Mr Nkole should realise that the DPP should be given an opportunity to make such judgment or decision considered reasonably justifiable and in the interest of the nation and reject that which would be injurious to national interest.

He said it was evident that Mr Nkoles fight against corruption was only focused on Dr Chiluba as an individual..

The National Energy Sector and Allied Workers Union (Nesawu) also supported calls to have the Taskforce on corruption disbanded.

Nesawu general secretary Yotam Mtayachalo said in a statement in Ndola yesterday that the taskforce was not a legal entity hence there was need for the Government to disband it and transfer its mandate to the ACC and the police.

Mr Mtayachalo said Mr Nkole had exhibited a lot of ignorance and stubbornness in regard to the appeal against the case involving Dr Chiluba.

He said Mr Nkole who is a legal expert should have been conversant with the constitutional provisions that the mandate to appeal for the State was only vested in the DPP and not the Taskforce.

Times of Zambia

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