State appeals against judge Lovemore Chikopa’s contempt proceedings

Malawian Judge Chikopa -- Left
THE State has appealed against Ndola High Court judge Mwiinde Siavwapa’s decision to allow contempt proceedings against Malawian judge Lovemore Chikopa.

Mr Justice Chikopa is accused of ignoring a court order when he allowed evidence to proceed in the Tribunal constituted to probe retired Supreme Court Judge Phillip Musonda.

Dr Justice Musonda and two suspended high court judges, Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna are challenging the legality of the Tribunal constituted to probe their alleged professional misconduct.

At the time the suspended judges had obtained a stay to stop proceedings, Mr Justice Chikopa and Tribunal secretary Chipili Katunasa were alleged to have gone ahead with the proceedings against Dr Justice Musonda.

In the matter before Mr Justice Siavwapa, justices Kajimanga and Mutuna had dragged Mr Justice Chikopa and Ms Katunasa to court for alleged contempt.

But the State argued that they could not be cited for contempt of court because the stay of proceedings did not contain a warning that if they ignored it, they would face jail.

In the memorandum of appeal filed in the Supreme Court, Attorney-General Mumba Malila stated that Mr Justice Siavwapa had erred in Law and in fact when he found that there was need to commence committal proceedings in order to enforce an alleged breach of a court order.

Mr Malila also submitted that the learned trial judge had erred in law and in fact when he decided to exercise his judicial discretion to dispense with the requirement of the endorsement of the Penal Notice on the order retrospectively.