Documents on Panji’s bankruptcy ‘disappear’ from court records

Documents on Panji’s bankruptcy ‘disappear’ from court records

Panji Kaunda

All documents relating to Panji Kaunda’s bankruptcy have been removed from courts records and other public institutions.

Panji is the deputy minister of Defence and revelations that he was declared bankrupt in 2004 has been causing him sleepless nights.

He has hired Kelvin Bwalya as his lawyer to sue anyone who brings out the matter where he was declared bankrupt by the High Court of Zambia in January 2004 for owing Hybrid Poultry Farm Limited K121,703,436.

Kelvin Bwalya has since started working on his assignment and he has sued or threatened to sue Foundation for Democratic Process and has written to Muvitv demanding an apology of face court action.

But it seems some dirty work has been done on the matter.

A check by the Watchdog at the High Court Registry revealed that all the documents relating to the matter have been removed.

An official at the High Court Registry told the Watchdog in confidence that agents of Panji and his lawyers connived with some court officials to hide the documents.

When the matter was delivered 12 years ago, The Times of Zambia published a record of the proceedings.

That time Panji was in the opposition UNIP and therefore any negative issue on him was headline in government newspapers. A check by the Watchdog at the Times library revealed that a copy of 26 January 2004 has been removed.

A further check at the National Archives where all Daily Newspapers submit copies everyday showed that the Times of Zambia copy for 26 January 2004 is missing. All other copies for 2004 are available.

When the matter of Panji’s bankruptcy was first published on the Watchdog, then information minister Given Lubinda said Panji’s issue of being bankrupt was addressed when the Former President Kenneth Kaunda paid Hybrid Poultry Farm Limited the amount Colonel Kaunda owed.

But even those records are missing.

Kelvin Bwalya, Panji’s lawyer has had trouble with professional conduct.

In February 2010, the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) suspended him and his KBF Partners from practicing law.

LAZ had ordered the immediate closure of his law firm.

According to a notice on the High Court bulletin board, Justin Chashi then convenor from the Legal Practitioners Committee announced the suspension.

“Take notice that the above named practitioner has been suspended from practicing law with immediate effect. By this notice, the said practitioner is not to appear in any court of law/tribunal and should not file court processes of whatever nature until further notice from the undersigned,” Chashi announced.

He directed that Bwalya’s law firm be closed because it was a one-man firm.

“Since the firm under the name and style KBF and Partners is a one-man firm, it is further ordered that the firm be closed with immediate effect,” stated Chashi.

Commenting on the matter, LAZ president Stephen Lungu said the suspension had nothing to do with him not having a practicing certificate but his conduct in relation to his duty.

Two weeks ago, Kelvin Bwalya‘s clients from the Czech who were charged with espionage escaped from Zambia after jumping bail. They obtained travel documents from a neighbouring country.

The disappearance of court records on Panji’s bankruptcy means that the people he is suing will have no material to rely on. But a lawyer explained to the Watchdog that the High Court will be petitioned to compel the registry to make available the documents.

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