NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has told the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that appearing before Lusaka Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba has been a nightmare due to his alleged conduct of harrasing him and attempting to extort him.
And Kambwili and his lawyers Christopher Mundia and Mwiinga Cheelo have sued Simusamba for defamation after he accused them of bribery.
Meanwhile, Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has refused to accept a complaint lodged by Kambwili to cite Simusamba for libel and extortion saying the formal charge lodged, did not disclose where the first offence was committed and extortion was tried by the High Court.
In a complaint letter addressed to the ACC dated March 6, 2020 obtained by Daily Revelation, Kambwili stated that he had complained about Simusamba’s conduct to the Chief Justice and deputy Chief Justice but the latter informed him in the presence of witnesses that they were aware of Simusamba’s extortion schemes but had found it very difficult to rid him from the judiciary due to lack of tangible evidence.
“My appearance before Hon David Simusamba has been a night mare due to the conduct of Hon Simusamba who has been harrasing me and attempting to extort from me. I complained about his conduct to the Chief Justice and the deputy Chief Justice. In fact the latter informed me in the presence of witnesses that they were aware of Simusamba’s extortion schemes but had found it very difficult to rid him from the judiciary due to lack of tangible evidence,” the letter read in part.
Kambwili stated that he was not the only prominent person who had suffered at magistrate Simusamba’s hands.
“I have had the pleasure of interacting with other prominent individuals who have resisted his extortionate demands and have instead suffered malicious and unfounded convictions at his hands and who are more willing to come forth as witnesses to attest to the same,” Kambwili stated.
He stated that he had enclosed a letter to the Chief Justice cataloguing events that led to Simusamba demanding K360, 000 from him in order to aquit him, for their perusal and consideration.
Kambwili also urged ACC to feel free and get in touch with him to provide more information and evidence including telephone recordings proving the said allegations.
And in a statement of claim filed in court, Kambwili, Mundia and Cheelo are demanding demanding Exemplary damages for defamation of character among other claims.
Kambwili suitted that since he started appearing before Simusamba in 2018 on charges of fraud, uttering of a false document and giving false information to a public office, he had on different occasions solicited money from him in order to deliver judgment in his favour.
He stated tha he would equally provide evidence at trial that Simusamba was on a deliberate path to personally destroy him especially that he had completely refused to pay him the total sum of K360, 000.
He further stated that he would prove that he had complained to Chief Justice and her deputy about Simusamba’s extortionate conduct but they had taken no action against him.
“Instead I was advised to continue appearing before him despite raising very serious allegations of actual biasness, malice and extortion against him,” he stated.
Kambwili further stated that after complaining to the Chief Justice about the conduct of magistrate Simusamba, he instead received a letter from her office quoting verbatim magistrate Simusamba’s allegations against him.
He stated that magistrate Simusamba authored a letter to Chief Justice on December 18, 2019 in which he maliciously and made false allegations against him in order to escape sunctions from her and instead maliciously and falsely in turn accused him of corruption.
Kambwili stated that the allegations had caused him and his lawyers embarrasment and had brought their reputation into ridicule and odium as result of the false and malicious claims.
Equally Mundia and Cheelo stated that they would call evidence that the publication to the Chief Justice had cast them as unprofessional and unworthy legal practitioners to the Chief Justice where they repeatedly appear as senior members of the legal profession in Zambia in her capacity as the fountain of justice in Zambia.
They stated that in his exculpatory letter to the Chief Justice, Simusamba stated that “My Lady on the issue of soliciting for money from him in order to deliver judgment in his favour comes with a sense of shock. In fact, the contrary is true. Since inception of the case in January 2018. Mr Chishimba Kambwili has relentlessly attempted to bribe me with sums of money including offers to buy me a car at the time I had no car sometime in the 1st quarter of 2018 when his case had just begun. He has on several occasions sent people most of whom are close friends including one of his lawyers Mr Mundia to bribe me. At no time have I accepted any bribe from him or solicit for one and my message to all his envoys has been very diplomatic in order to avoid trouble for his envoys. In fact, my Lady, you will wish to know that the complaint before you has been triggered by my latest refusal to accept a bribe from him. In the days leading up to December 12, 2019, his new lawyer Cheelo who is a former classmate and friend approached me and told that Mr Chishimba Kambwili wanted help with his case and willing to offer any sums of money and remove Mr Mweemba (Keith) from his defence team as he noticed that he, Mr Mweemba was being acrimonious towards me. “
The two legal practitioners stated that the words are false, defamatory and they they had been severaly injured.
They stated that their credit and reputation had been brought into scandal, odium and contempt in the eyes of right thinking members of the society and that they came to their knowledge with a sense of extreme shock and anguish.
Mundia and Cheelo stated that the words uttered by magistrate Simusamba in their natural and ordinary meaning are and were understood to mean that they attempted to bribe him and that they were corrupt and malicious individuals who falsely accused him of corruption and soliciting for bribes.
They stated that Simusamba’s words also meant they were unprofessional lawyers engaged in corrupt practices to advance their practice as legal practitioners and win cases using illegal means.
The duo also stated that Simusamba meant that their behavior and conduct in defending Kambwili had been unprofessional and unworthy of dignified members of the legal profession.
“The said words are denied in their entirety and cannot be further from the truth as the Defendant has no proof of the same and simply concocted malicious falsehoods in an attempt to escape censure after having been reported for corrupt practices to relevant authorities,” they stated.
The plaintiffs stated that they are not guilty of any of the things they had been accused of by Simusamba as they had always been well respected and law abiding citizens.
They stated that they would provide evidence at trial that Kambwili was not the only prominent politician in Zambia that Simusamba had attempted to extract huge sums of money from under the threat of malicious conviction.
The Plaintiffs stated that they would provide evidence and witnesses that the defendant was in part transfered from Lusaka as magistrate to Lusaka as deputy registrar in charge of family division due to his extensive well documented conduct of extorting money from prominent accused persons appearing before him in the Lusaka Subordinate Court in exchange for acquittals.
They stated that the words complained of had come to the attention of various judicial officers who include Mundia and Cheelo’s colleagues, subordinates, business partners, family and friends.
Meanwhile, magistrate Mwale in a ruling on the complaint lodged by Kambwili stated that the charge of extortion fell under the class of offences for trial by the High Court as ordered by the Chief Justice through Statutory Instrument No 277 of 1965 made persuant to section 11 of the Criminal Procedural Code.
Mwale ruled that his court had no jurisdiction to admit a complaint of extortion.
He also stated that the charge of libel did not disclose the place or indeed the territory where the offence was alleged to have been committed from.
Mwale also stated that it would be imprudent for him to feign ingnornace of the fact the Chief Justice had reported the matter to the ACC for further action.
“In light of the forgoing and the reasons already advanced, it is the firm view of this court that the complaint or formal charge lodged here in does not disclose an offence and in line with section 90 (6) of the CPC, I hereby refuse to admit it. The complainant is at liberty to appeal to the High Court within 14 days from today in line with section 90(7) of the CPC,” magsitate Mwale ruled.