Judge Chikopo back, briefly detained at airport

Judge Lovemore Chikopa from Malawi has arrived in Zambia but was initially blocked from entering the country after immigration officials discovered that his permit had expired and that he did not state his business in Zambia.

He landed at Kenneth Kaunda airport aboard a South African airline at 20: 30 Zambian time hours on Wednesday.

After immigration told him that he can’t enter the country on an expired permit and without stating his business, he demanded and literally ordered immigration officials to phone president Michael Sata and a few minutes after the State House call he walked passed immigration.

Airport officials at first did not recognise the man whom others described as very thin and looking like a dead man walking.

Judge Chikopa was appointed to chair a tribunal to investigate the alleged professional misconduct of three judges.

Supreme Court Judge Phillip Musonda, two High Court judge Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna were suspended by Sata n April 2012.

Their suspension followed a judgement which was passed by Judge Mutuna and found President Sata’s allies, Post owner Fred M’membe and Mutembo Nchito, wanting over a public debt.

The three judges challenged the suspension through judicial review on grounds that it was unconstitutional. Judge Fulgence Chisanga granted leave for judicial review and subsequently lifted the suspension of the three judges.

Attorney General Mumba Malila appealed to the Supreme Court challenging the judge Chisanga’s decision to stop the tribunal.

The Supreme Court has not decided the matter and Chikopa stayed in the country upto about December 2012 and was being paid K50 million plus upkeep fees every month.

Chikopa is believed to be related to Sata through one of the women Sata married and discarded in the past.

His sudden return could mean that maybe Sata has finally managed to intimidate or bribe  the Supreme court to rule in hi favour.

Malawians, like all SADC citizens, are allowed in the country without permit for upto 90 days but for longer stays they need permits.

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