DPP has no powers to surrender advocates

The Director of Public Prosecutions has no legal authority to surrender let alone recommend secondment of DPP’s chambers’ advocates.

The Watchdog reported last week that Mutembo Nchito had solicited for the removal of two senior advocates.

The advocates in question were allegedly surrendered last month and a fortnight ago respectively, and information reaching this publication indicates the chief state advocate is said to have since gone abroad as she awaits the reported redeployment.

But a cursory glance into the DPP’s reported action to surrender chief state advocate and her deputy to the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) is therefore illegal.

The Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary is by law authorised to take such action whereas such action under the National Prosecutions Authority can only be taken by the Board.

While it was reported that Nchito could have taken the action because of misunderstanding arising from the diarising of sessions that his predecessor, Chalwe Mchenga had approved during his reign, the office of the DPP does not prepare such but merely approves.

It is accordingly the duty of the two affected advocates to prepare such court diary sessions of which the DPP is normally charged with the responsibility of attending to committals, and his office mostly handles matters in the High Court and Supreme Court whose process is said to be technical for one whose career background is not rooted in criminal law.

It is also a difficult undertaking for a DPP who could not have gone through the mill as understanding of court processes that include preparation of committal certificates among other several experience-related exercises at the disposal of the DPP’s office.

It is therefore required that a DPP and those serving under the office be of required competence levels and experience to understand the intricacies involved in preparation of the documents.

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