Malawian judge Lovemore Chikopa will be paid his fees whether the tribunal he came to lead takes place or not, the Watchdog has been informed.
And Judge Chikopa has finally spoken out and said he is still at Pamodzi hotel waiting to be told what to do by the Zambian government.
Judge Chikopa told the Nyansa Times of Malawi by phone from Pamodzi hotel that ‘yes I am still in Zambia at the moment.’
Chikopa is staying in one of the deluxe premium rooms at the hotel which costs around US$3000 a day.
The Watchdog has been reliably informed that the Zambian government has undertaken to pay Chikopa his fees whether he will preside of the tribunal or not.
The government is not saying how much Chikopa will be paid as that will depend on the number of days he spends on the assignment.
But a daily figure was agreed in the contract which the government is keeping secret. According to informed sources, the contract includes professional fees which are separate from upkeep fees while in Zambia.
The contract came into effect the day he arrived in Zambia after taking leave in his country. It means that, to him, each day that passes he earns and accumulates money on the contract.
As a senior Judge, Chikopa can only be hired at very high fees. In Malawi, he is a High Court Judge and chief adjudicator at the Commercial court of Malawi.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Zambia has not even set a date to hear the appeal regarding the three suspended judges.
Last week, Justice Minister Sebastian Zulu said Chikopa would for now remain in the country and that a decision would only be made when the Supreme Court sets a date for the appeal hearing.
“If the Supreme Court takes a longer time to hear the matter, I agree that the judge must first go back to Malawi until the matter is disposed of in court,” Zulu said.
But the Supreme Court has not set the date.
The three suspended judges, Phillip Musonda, Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga obtained a stay to prevent the tribunal from sitting to hear their alleged impropriety pending the full determination of the judicial review by the High Court.
High Court Judge Fulgence Chisanga granted the three leave to apply for judicial review which is operating as a stay of Sata’s decision to suspend them and appoint a tribunal.
Judge Chisanga was supposed to hear the judicial review on May 30, 2012 but the PF government challenged her very granting of the stay of execution.
She dismissed with costs the challenge by government.
The government appealed to the Supreme court thereby suspending Judge Chisanga’ sitting.
Judge Chisanga cannot do anything now that the matter is in the Supreme Court.
The three judges were suspended in the way they handled a matter of K14 billion which DPP Mutembo Nchito and Fred M’membe owe the Development Bank of Zambia.