FORMER Taskforce prosecutor Mutembo Nchito has said the Law association of Zambia (LAZ) legal practitioners committee cannot charge him because he was not subject to control of any person or authority as a gazetted public prosecutor.
Mr Nchito has argued that he enjoyed delegated authority from the DPP and could not be subject to control by any other person or authority except the DPP.
But LAZ Administrative Assistant Sipelile Mwilwa said that Mr Nchito should raise the issues as a preliminary objection for consideration by the committee at its sitting.
Mr Nchito has contended that the complaint filed by former president Frederick Chiluba was an attempt to usurp constitutional powers of the DPP.
Mr Nchito has been summoned to defend himself against two complaints at a hearing to take place this Friday after the complaints by Dr Chiluba and his former press aide Richard Sakala.
Mr Nchito is expected to appear before the committee at LAZ offices on plot number 1, Lagos Road at 12:00 hours from day to day until the matter is concluded.
Dr Chiluba complained to LAZ that he filed an appeal in High Court against his acquittal by a magistrate without the authority of the DPP.
Mr Sakala’s complaint to LAZ was that Mr Nchito took political decisions on instructions of late President Levy Mwanawasa as opposed to the DPP.
Mr Sakala contested that Mr Nchito received instructions from Dr Mwanawasa instead of the DPP who was the only officer to supervise a prosecution.
MNB Legal Ppractitioners, in a letter dated 13 May, 2010 to LAZ has stated that Mr Nchito was a gazetted public prosecutor as per gazette number 2 of 2002 and performed his duties on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Mr Nchito’s lawyers argue that the constitution provides for the protection of the office of the DPP which privilege he should enjoy under article 56(4) of the Constitution.
Mr Nchito’s letter said the only authority under the constitution that can deal with him was the DPP who was the appointing authority but he had never received a complaint from the office of the DPP on the matter.
“What Dr Chiluba is attempting to do is to usurp the powers of the DPP contrary to Article 56(7), the very allegation he is leveling against Mr Nchito,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Nchito had also argued that to the best of his knowledge, Dr Chiluba was not the mouthpiece of the DPP.
Mr Nchito said the legal practitioners committee was a wrong forum for the complaint because what Dr Chiluba was challenging was the exercise of authority by the DPP.
He also cited a High Court ruling that was delivered by Mr Justice Mervin Mwanamwambwa on May 29, 2008 where there was an appeal filed by the prosecutor without the DPP’s consent. The judge ruled that the appeal was in order.
“In our view, the complaint is both frivolous and vexatious and must therefore be dismissed,” Mr Nchito stated.
The convening of the committee follows separate complaints filed by Dr Chiluba and former State House Press aide Richard Sakala against the conduct of Mr Nchito when he was state prosecutor at the disbanded Taskforce on Corruption.
According to a letter signed by LAZ administrative assistant Mwilwa and dated May 14, 2010, also summoned to give evidence on behalf of Dr Chiluba is his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba.
Ms Mwilwa said Mr Nchito should raise the issues as a preliminary objection for consideration by the committee at its sitting.
Dr Chiluba had also been advised to get legal representation at the hearing.
TIMES OF ZAMBIA