Lusaka Magistrate Lameck Mwale has discontinued the prosecution of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito on criminal charges.
This follows Mr. Nchito’s earlier decision to enter a nolle prosequi in a matter he was facing nine counts of criminal charges among them Abuse of Authority of Office, Contempt of court and Conspiracy to defeat justice.
When the matter came up this morning for ruling on Mr Nchito’s application to discontinue the matter, Magistrate Mwale ruled that the DPP has constitutional powers to enter a nolle prosequi in any criminal proceedings that is before a court of law.
Magistrate Mwale has explained that this means that Mr. Nchito does reserve the right to enter a nolle prosequi even in his own case as he did on Friday, 20th February 2015.
He said the manner in which Mr. Nchito chooses to exercise such powers does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Magistrate court.
And speaking shortly after the court ruling, Mr. Nchito expressed delight that the law had been followed.
Asked what the ruling meant to him, Mr. Nchito told journalists that the law is law and there is nothing more he can say especially that it was not him that made the law which gives him powers to enter nolle prosequi without being questioned.
He however said he is particularly not happy that there was an attempt to bend the law in his case.
Mr Nchito stated that I was now up to the complaint to appeal against the Magistrate’s ruling.
And former Finance Deputy Minister Newton Ng’uni, who was the complainant in this matter, has disclosed that his lawyers will appeal against the ruling to the High court.
Mr. Ng’uni says the basis of the appeal will be the fact that the Magistrate Court has referred to Mr. Nchito’s entering of a nolle prosequi in his own case as being a constitutional matter.
He states that his intention therefore is to know whether a DPP who has allegedly committed a crime is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the court.
Meanwhile the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) which earlier applied to join the case as a friend of the court has described Mr. Nchito’s discontinued case as one that is of the level where law and what is moral can be acutely distinguished.
LAZ president George Chisanga has told journalists that by discontinuing the court case, Magistrate Mwale has in fact done what is the correct decision in line with the law.
Mr. Chisanga says under the country’s constitution the court cannot question the decision by the DPP to enter a nolle prosequi as these are the powers that are reserved to the DPP absolutely and are not subject to review.