Judges’ tribunal halted

Judge Philip Musonda

THE Lusaka High Court has halted the tribunal constituted to investigate former Supreme Court judge Phillip Musonda on grounds that two parallel institutions cannot be hearing the same matter.
This is in a case in which Dr Justice Musonda has applied for judicial review to stop the tribunal from investigating him after his resignation from the judiciary.
The tribunal was set up by President Sata in April last year to investigate alleged professional misconduct involving Dr Musonda and High Court judges Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna.
Dr Justice Musonda of House No 12, Sianjalika Road, Woodlands, Lusaka, is contesting the legality of the tribunal, through a judicial review, on grounds that it was acting in excess of jurisdiction by insisting to investigate him when he had resigned.
The tribunal went ahead with its inquiry, arguing that despite the High Court commencing judicial review, this did not act as a stay of the tribunal’s inquiry.
High Court judge Florence Lengalenga said in her ruling that going ahead with the tribunal to hear evidence against Dr Justice Musonda’s alleged professional misconduct would be prejudicial to him.
Ms Justice Lengalenga said the proceedings of the tribunal should be stopped until determination of the judicial review which was granted to Dr Justice Musonda.
She said Dr Justice Musonda is challenging the tribunal and it cannot, therefore, proceed with its hearings.
“You cannot have two parallel proceedings at the tribunal and the High Court hearing the same matter. The tribunal has been stayed until the substantive determination of the judicial review hearing is done,” Ms Justice Lengalanga said.
Three people, High Court judge Albert Wood, High Court acting registrar Chilombo Phiri and State Counsel Nchima Nchito have so far submitted before the tribunal led by Malawian judge Lovemore Chikopa.
Two other High Court justices Kajimanga and Mutuna were also party to the initial tribunal investigations but the Ndola High Court recently granted them a stay where they questioned the legality of the tribunal.