The case file for the controversial K14 billion Zambian Airways loan which Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and Post Newspaper owner Fred M’membe and Nchima Nchito have refused to pay back to the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) has gone missing although the case comes up next week.
The disappearance was brought to the attention of the Daily Nation by civil petitioners who are demanding to join the matter to protect the K14 billion following previous instructions by government to withdraw the matter from court. The case was referred back to the High Court from the Supreme Court.
Efforts by the Daily Nation to trace the case file proved virtually futile as all the offices in which the file could have been had no record of its whereabouts.
The matter which should have gone back to the commercial court was instead allocated to Judge Justine Chashi who was on the panel of Judges that exonerated Patriotic Front secretary general Wynter Kabimba from culpability when he used official legal opinion for private use. The Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan saga was ignited when Zambian Airways went under and the directors refused to pay back due to technicalities and the matter was redirected from the Supreme Court to the High Court and it has since been allocated to Judge Justine Chashi.
Several stakeholders have declared an interest that they would be joining the case so that the K14 billion DBZ loan could be paid back to the bank as it was pubic money. The Zambian Voice late last year announced that it would be joining the legal battle demanding that the K14 billion Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan obtained by Mutembo Nchito, his brother Nchima and M’membe be paid back.
The matter was first adjudicated upon by Judge Nigel Mutuna who ruled that the K14 billion DBZ loan was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation.
The directors protested and President Michael Sata appointed a Tribunal after suspending the two High Court Judges Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga and Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda.
The Supreme Court has ordered the retrial of K14 billion DBZ loan saga with Judge MuyindaWanki ruling that in the name of justice, the case should be redirected to the High Court under a different Judge because Judge Nigel Mutuna who had presided over the matter did not have the jurisdiction.
Judge Wanki in his ruling explained that the transfer of the case from Judge Albert Wood to Judge Mutuna did not follow the normal procedure and should therefore be taken back to the High Court for retrial under a different Judge.
The Supreme Court also lambasted Nchito, his brother Nchima and M’membe for contemptuously ignoring court decorum and walking out of a court session when the proceedings were going on.
President Michael Sata subsequently suspended Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda along with High Court Judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga and immediately constituted a tribunal headed by Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa to probe the three judges for alleged professional misconduct.