Zambian High Court stops Judge Chikopa’s tribunal

The Lusaka High Court has granted three Zambian judges accused of misconduct an injunction stopping all proceedings of a tribunal appointed by President Michael Sata headed by Malawian High Court Judge and Commecial Court Judge President Lovemore Chikopa branding the tribunal as illegal and immature.

Chikopa was recently sworn in the Zambian capital, Lusaka to chair a tribunal investigating the alleged misconduct of a Supreme Court judge and two High Court judges in a case that involves the K14 billion which DPP Mutembo Nchito and his partner Fred M’membeowe DBZ.

According to Zambia Watchdog, the Zambian High Court judge Flugence Chisanga signed an application for the accused judges to seek judicial review in the matter on grounds that the tribunal was against the law and premature.

Justice Chikopa in Zambia

Suspended high court judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga applied for leave to apply for judicial review in the High Court and cited the Attorney General Mumba Malila as the respondent in the matter.

Judgement

Judge Chisanga made the ruling on Wednesday granting two judges permission to have their case reviewed.

“It is hereby ordered that the applications be and are hereby granted leave to apply for judicial review,” Judge Chisanga ruled.

“And further ordered that the leave so granted shall operate as a stay of the decision of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia to appoint a Tribunal, to suspend the applicants and any adverse measures against the applicants who are citizens of the Republic of Zambia in relation to the performance of their constitutional duties as duly appointed judges serving the High Court of judicature of Zambia pending full determination of this matter until any further direction by this honourable court,” Chisanga ordered in his Judgement.

This means the two judges can continue working as judges until this matter is determined.

Judicial review is a process whereby judges review the actions of the executive to see if they acted within the confines of the rule of law.

Earlier this week the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) said it expected Malawian Judge Chikopa and his Zambian panel of judges of the tribunal to proceed expertly, expeditiously and exhibit fairness in its proceedings.

Justice Chikopa’s appointment as head of the tribunal was received with mixed feelings from a cross section of Zambians with sections of the opposition resisting it, while many interest groups, including the Law Association of Zambia, saying there was nothing wrong with it.

 Suspension

President Sata 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.

Then, President Sata consequently set up a tribunal and appointed Justice Chikopa known in Malawi for his impartiality to probe into the alleged judicial delinquencies of the three judges.

Justice Chikopa is widely known in Malawi as an impartial judge and for his sublime justice delivery and more often lawyers had to take their cases all the way to Mzuzu court where Chikopa was Judge President from either Blantyre or Lilongwe to seek legal redress.

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