Daily Nation scandal: Where is the Supreme Court?

Daily Nation scandal: Where is the Supreme Court?

Editor,

I would like to concur with your detailed article under the headline “Silwamba, Sakala begin to alter facts in Stanbic, Savenda scandal” in which you wrote about the flawed Supreme Court judgment which the Daily Nation newspaper is desperately trying to justify.

You deserve a part on the back for your researched article, particularly the observations you made on various points of law.

That is real journalism because you brought out points that the general public has not been made aware of because of irresponsible journalism as exhibited by the Daily Nation.

I have been following the Savenda versus Stanbic matter with interest and, like many Zambians, was shocked when the Court of Appeal overturned High court Judge Justin Chashi’s landmark judgment that had ordered Stanbic Bank to pay Savenda Management Services K192.5 million as damages for negligently reporting the company to the Credit Reference Bureau as a bad debtor.

In his September 2016 judgment, Judge Chashi had no kind words for Stanbic Bank and found its action to report Savenda to the CRB as “carelessly culpable”.

So, to see the Supreme Court uphold the Court of appeal judgment was as suspicious as it was shocking, hence my interest in your rebuttal of the Daily Nation’s attempts to paint Savenda in bad light while giving credit to the Supreme Court judgment that ruled in favour of Stanbic Bank.

As you rightly observed, we await to see whether Daily Nation owner Richard Sakala will be cited for contempt for the articles whose headline suggests that Savenda is a wrongdoer.

Let’s not forget that currently Chikondi Foundation president Bishop John Mambo, Southern African Network against Corruption executive director Gregory Chifire and Rainbow Newspaper managing editor Derrick Sinjela are appearing in court facing contempt of court charges for commenting on a matter that has already been concluded in the Supreme Court.

We are now living in very interesting times where some people can comment on a Supreme Court judgment and go scot free while others who air a different view are cited for contempt and threatened with jail.

The only offence the three committed was to speak against the suspicious manner in which the Supreme Court presided over the case involving Savenda Management Services Limited and Stanbic Bank.

Until the recent shocking action by the Supreme Court, I always knew that a person can be held in contempt of court when they do or utter anything that shows disrespect to a court while a case is active.

However, when a case has been disposed of, members of the public are at liberty to comment on the merits or demerits of a judgment.

It is in light of the above tenets of democracy that Bishop Mambo, Chifire and Sinjela  exercised their democratic right to comment on the Supreme Court judgment which was roundly criticized by citizens and the civil society.

It became even more shocking to learn that instead of Stanbic Bank paying Savenda K192.5 million, Savenda will be punished by paying Stanbic Bank K10 million in legal costs.

I do recall that it was in the midst of these condemnations of the Supreme Court judgment that lawyer John Sangwa wrote what read like a love letter to Chief Justice Irene Mambilima accompanied by a very long article praising the Supreme Court judgment and pouring cold water on Judge Chashi’s High Court ruling.

In a manner unheard of before by a senior lawyer at the level of state counsel, Sangwa even made insinuations that there had been an act of corruption in Judge Chashi’s judgment which had awarded Savenda Management Services damages.

Here, I want to demonstrate how there appears to be two justice systems in the dispensation of justice in Zambia.

When Sangwa made his comments in April, questioning Judge Chashi’s competency in the writing of judgments, we did not hear of Judge Chashi summoning Sangwa to appear before him for contempt of court.

But when Bishop Mambo, Chifire and Sinjela criticized the Supreme Court judgment, it was deemed as contempt of court.

Where was the Supreme Court when Sangwa was criticizing Judge Chashi’s judgment? Why didn’t they defend him?

Meanwhile, as Bishop Mambo, Chifire and Sinjela are appearing in court for a strange contempt of court case in which the Supreme Court is the complainant, prosecutor and jury, the Daily Nation comes up with maliciously headlined articles justifying the Supreme Court judgment that ruled in favour of Eric Silwamba’s clients.

I know that Silwamba and Daily Nation owner Richard Sakala worked together at State House under President Frederick Chiluba and they are now using the newspaper to fight battles on behalf of Stanbic Bank. What a shame!

Just on account of the headline the Daily Nation has adopted, the newspaper can be cited for contempt as there is an active case currently in court related to the same matter.

Once again, keep it up with your well researched stories.

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