One of the three judges suspended by president Michael Sata in his quest to protect his partners Fred M’membe and Mutembo Nchito in the K14 billion debt has resigned.
Phillip Musonda was the only Supreme Court Justice while the two others who have since challenged the tribunal are High Court judges.
Judge Musonda says his departure from the Bench has become inevitable.
Last year, Sata rejected Justice Musonda’s request to resign after the President suspended him along with High Court Judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga over alleged professional misconduct.
This is in a civil case involving Development Bank of Zambia as complainant and the Post Newspapers Limited, Mutembo Nchito, and JNC Holdings Limited as defendants.
Sata said he would only consider Justice Musonda’s application after the tribunal appointed to probe the trio’s alleged professional misconduct has concluded its work.
In a letter dated June 4, 2013 to the President, Justice Musonda says staying on at the Supreme Court will be discomforting to him and his colleagues; and is therefore not feasible.
“I do not wish to contest my continued stay in court or in the tribunal. I wish to thank you for having given me the opportunity to serve as a Supreme Court judge during the tenure of your Presidency. I thank the acting Chief Justice, Acting Deputy Chief Justice and my colleagues on the court for the co-operation and guidance they gave me.
“I have spent 32 years and four months in the Judiciary – 12 years and four months as judge. I was appointed judge of the Industrial Relations Court on February 7, 2001, High Court Judge on August 2, 2002, and Supreme Court on May 5, 2011,” Justice Musonda’s letter reads in part.
He adds: “It is in light of this that I humbly request and pray that Your Excellency exercises statutory powers and discretion as determinant of conditions of service for serving Judges and those departing to allow me to be retired in national interest as I have almost reached retirement age at 62.”
Justice Musonda says former Chief Justice Annel Silungwe was post-departure retired and accorded a retired Judge’s conditions of service.
“Your Excellence, as the fountain of justice, look at my service, additionally my wife has just returned from major surgery in India, which needs my constant attention…I leave with no bitterness against anyone as that would be uncChristian. Should my services be required in any area, I am available to serve my country,” he added.