DPP nolle powers under attack

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The Powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to enter into a nolle prosequi have continued to come under criticism by members of the public.

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The issue which was first raised at the Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission public sittings which opened in Lusaka last week, was also a point of petition today.

A petitioner has observed that the State through the DPP has been using nolle prosequi to silence political opponents.

During its sitting in Mtendere township at the Catholic Church today, a resident Emmanuel Tembo petitioned that the courts be should be given the authority to either grant or deny the DPP to enter into a nolle in court cases.

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Mr. Tembo noted that in most cases the State takes the case to court without proper evidence and ends up entering into a nolle when it is discovered that it would lose.

Mr Tembo stated that political opponents and other innocent citizens are denied justice whenever the State enters into a nolle as they would be waiting for investigations into a case  which he said doesn’t happen hence his suggestion that there should be a time frame for the State to enter into a nolle.

And Mr. Tembo has appealed to the commission to quickly enquire into the operations of the Zambia Institute of Advance Legal Education (ZIALE) which he has accused of deliberately limiting the number of practicing lawyers in Zambia for selfish reasons.

He said due to the limited the number of lawyers in Zambia, practicing lawyers have taken advantage of  their clients to charge exorbitant fees while many who cannot afford to pay have ended up in prison due to lack of legal representation.

In response to the petition on the powers of the DPP to enter into a nolle, Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito explained that the State takes such legal action in order to ensure that an  accused  person receives justice in court.

Mr Nchito explained that 99 percent of cases the State enters into a nolle do not involve politicians but mere citizens in order to allow further investigations so that no party is unjustly treated .

He added that statements to insinuate that a nolle is meant for political opponents were baseless.

Similar observations on the powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions to enter into a nolle were made by petitioners at the Lusaka Civic Centre and Chawama public sittings last week.

The Justice Fredrick Choma led Commission will tomorrow be sitting in at Dzithandizeni Trades School in Lusaka’s Garden compound.

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