Supreme Court overrules High Court in DBZ K14M case

Fred Mmembe

The Supreme Court has ruled against the High Court judgment that ordered JCN Holdings, Post Newspapers Limited and Directors of the defunct Zambian Airways Directors to pay back 14 million Kwacha(K14 billion old currency) debt owed to the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ).

This is a matter in which JCN Holdings, Post Newspapers editor-in chief Fred M’membe and former Zambian Airways Director Mutembo Nchito had appealed against the Lusaka High Court judgment that ordered them to pay K14 billion sought by the DBZ.

Passing judgment this morning, Supreme Court Judge Muyinda Wanki said the court’s decision was arrived at after it was deduced that there were irregularities in the transfer of the matter from Judge Albert Wood, who initially handled the matter, to Judge Nigel Mutuma who further heard the matter and determined the judgment on it.

Judge Wanki says Judge Mutuma had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and determine its judgment because the required procedure to transfer the matter from Judge Wood to him was not followed.

Judge Wanki says for this reason the ruling that Judge Mutuna made is null and void.

Judge Wanki has since referred the matter back to the High Court for re-trial under different judges.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court has condemned the conduct of the defense counsels led by Mr. Mutembo Nchito on the day that the said judgment by Judge Mutuma was made to order the paying back of the debt owed to the DBZ.

Judge Wanki says it was contemptuous and irregular for senior lawyers of Mr. Nchito’s kind to walk out of a legally constituted court during its proceedings.

He says such conduct is not expected from senior lawyers serving at the bar.