LAWYER Lewis Mosho and his collaborators, Mosha and Company, have given Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima a 24-hour ultimatum in which to respond to their letter where they have queried her decision to ask High Court judge Sunday Nkonde to stop handling the Post Newspapers liquidation case.
Journalist Dr Fred M’membe had complained to the Judicial Complaints Commission over judge Nkonde’s handling of the Post liquidation and asked that he recuses himself.
The JCC, after hearing the matter, found judge Nkonde wanting based on Dr M’membe’s complaints.
After that, justice Mambilima asked judge Nkonde to stop handling the Post liquidation case and that the matter be transferred to another judge.
In a letter to justice Mambilima dated January 8, Mosho, through Mosha and Company, stated that the Chief Justice’s request for judge Nkonde to recuse himself was “foreign, strange and unheard of and in breach of the provisions of the Constitution as amended under Article 122 of Act No. 2 of 2016, which provides for the independence of the Judiciary and the exercise of Judicial powers by Judicial officers”.
“…During the subsistence of the foregoing, it came to light and our clients’ attention that YOUR LADYSHIP and the said Dr M’membe were communicating on this subject and as such, The Mast Newspaper, believed to be under the control of the said complainant reported as follows: ‘CJ tells Nkonde to stop handling Post liquidation’. YOUR LADYSHIP, at page 7 of The Mast newspaper, you are quoted to have written that: ‘it is competent for a Judge with conduct of a case to recuse herself or himself from adjudicating on a matter, under section 6 and 7 of the Judicial Code of Conduct. Upon such recusal, a case is transferred from the Judge to another…’ Further that, ‘she reminded Dr M’membe that his complaint to the JCC raised ethical issues’, the article reads in part,”
the letter stated.
“Following the issues of the publication in The Mast Newspaper, it has since come to our Clients’ attention that you have still proceeded to request the Judge to recuse himself and hand over the files hence the delay in concluding this matter, notwithstanding that the matter of recusal was dealt with by the Judge and there is no appeal. Further that the issue of the complaint was dealt with by the High Court in Kitwe and stands concluded. Our clients are of the view that, if indeed this is what is going on, this approach is foreign, strange and unheard of and in breach of the provisions of the Constitution as amended under Article 122 of Act No. 2 of 2016, which provides for the independence of the Judiciary and the exercise of Judicial powers by Judicial officers. It provides, ‘(1) in the exercise of Judicial Authority, the Judiciary shall be subject only to this constitution and the law and not to be subject to the control or direction of a person or an authority. (2) A person and a person holding a public office shall not interfere with the performance of a judicial function by a judge or judicial officer’.”
They stated that an inquiry be instituted over justice Mambilima’s request that judge Nkonde recuses himself from the Post case.