The State is appealing against the Mzuzu High Court ruling extending an injunction which some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) obtained restraining Agriculture and Water Development Minister against George Chaponda from executing his duties until a probe into the Zambia maize saga is concluded, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale has told Nyasa Times.
Kaphale, the Government’s top legal officer, is heading to the Supreme Court next week in the latest round of the Chaponda suspension battle.
The Attorney General had argued that the High Court in Mzuzu should vacate the order for leave for judicial review because the court does not have the power and authority to review executive orders by the President.
But Justice John Chirwa rebuffed the argument and sustained the injunction , saying the court has the jurisditicon to hear the matter.
The CSOs—Youth and Society (YAS), Church and Society Programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia and Centre for Development of People (Cedep)— had applied for a judicial review following President Peter Mutharika’s decision not to suspend Chaponda when he appointed a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption and malpractices in the maize import deal between State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and a Zambian company.
Kaphale said the government “ of course respect that judgment” of Mzuzu High Court and will comply but that it is appealing against it at the Supreme Court.
“We have filed the notice of appeal with the Supreme Court and consent order settling record of appeal and we have also compiled record of appeal,” Kaphale told Nyasa Times.
“Basically the documents will be in Blantyre on Wednesday where we will be waiting for the date [for hearing] to be set,” said Kaphale.
Kaphale said his office has six grounds of appeal. He could not give details on telephone interview.
According to lawyer for the CSOs Wesley Mwafulirwa of John Tennyson and Associates, Chaponda will thus remain suspended until the Commission of Inquiry into ‘maizegate’ is concluded, or “ until the further order of the court.
The Commission, led by Retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa, was initially expected to present a final report and findings to President Peter Mutharika on January 31, but the period was extended to February 9 2017.
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