A GROUP of Civil Society Organisation has asked Chief Justice Irene Mambilima to immediately suspend the judges in the Savenda vs. Stanbic Bank case and institute a tribunal on their misconduct.
Reading a statement signed by Southern Africa Network against Corruption (SANAC), Operation Young Vote (OYV), National Empowerment Forum (NEF), Lusaka Muslim Women, SANAC executive director Gregory Chifire said the Savenda case had exposed judicial inconsistencies and deep-rooted corruption that needed to be checked.
He said there was need to cleanse the Zambian judicial system for it to claim its credit.
“In order to satisfy the accountability of the judiciary to the people of Zambia as expoused in article 118 of Zambian Constitution and rid the judiciary of corruption and restore order and confidence, we the CSOs demand the following to be done by the Chief Justice as a matter of urgency; suspend the judges named in the Savenda vs. Stanbic Bank case scandal to pave way for the establishment of a tribunal, set up a tribunal as provided for by the constitution to probe the said judges,” Chifire said.
“We also demand that the other investigative wings of government such as the Zambia Police Service, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) open investigations on this matter so that criminal proceedings can be commenced against the named judges. We must hasten to state that this matter has already been reported to both the ACC and DEC.”
When asked on what course of action they would take in an event that Chief Justice fails to take action on the named judges, Chifire responded that they would engage private prosecutors to address the matter.
And Operation Young Vote executive director Guess Nyirenda said the Zambia judiciary had been taken hostage by corrupt elements making it very compromised in the execution of justice.
He said corruption had reached alarming levels and if not addressed would lead to a total collapse of the judicial system in Zambia.
“We the CSOs and members of the general public are not only concerned but are also highly perturbed at the inertia being exhibited by those charged with the mandate and responsibility to uphold judicial integrity in our country. As CSOs, we are very alive to the provisions of the law particularly the constitution of the Republic of Zambia on the mandate placed on the Chief Justice as head of the judiciary to redeem the situation,” Nyirenda said.
“If the Chief Justice does not act, we will get to the appointing authority who is the Head of State. And if the President does not act, we will continue to talk to the people; we will continue to tell the Zambians the kind of President that we have in the fight against corruption. We are not saying that these judges are corrupt but there are indicators that some of these judges are corrupt. According to article 136 of the Zambian Constitution, the Chief Justice has been mandated to perform certain roles in order to restore order in the Judiciary.”
Nyirenda added that the responsibility of restoring order and integrity was the responsibility of the Chief Justice.
“For instance, clause 2 of article 136 reads (a) the Chief Justice shall be responsible for the administration of the Judiciary; (b) the Chief Justice shall ensure that a judge and judicial officer perform the judicial function with dignity, propriety and integrity; (c) the Chief Justice shall establish procedures to ensure that a judge and judicial officer independently exercise judicial authority in accordance with the law; (d) the Chief Justice shall ensure that a judge and judicial officer perform the judicial function without fear, favour or bias. The above clause clearly shows that the onus to restore order and integrity in the Judiciary rests on the Chief Justice as the chief administrator of the institution,” he said.
After their notification to hold a peaceful protest to High Court was quashed by the police, Consortiums of Civil Society Organisation has since written to Chief Justice and they are likely to present a petition on Monday July, 09, 2018.
Civil Rights activist Brebner Changala has requested the Chief Justice to have the Post Newspaper Liquidation and Savenda versus Stanbic bank judgements re-visited.
In his letter dated July 4, 2018 to “restate public anger and resentment over the two court decisions”, Changala told Chief Justice Irene Mambilima that the injustice creeping into the judicial offices cannot remain unrestrained and can never or ought never to be insulated by judges taking refuge or shelter by invoking contempt of court proceedings against those whose fundamental human rights are violated.
“My Lady, it will be flying in the teeth of my passion, that is fighting for fundamental human rights in my motherland, if I cannot humbly request you to have these two if not more judgments revisited. My Lady, property rights must be given effect and the only way is to revisit Post Newspaper and Savenda decisions if the judiciary has to starve off public anger and resentment. I speak not for myself but for the Zambian citizen that includes your Ladyship,” Changala said.
Changala told the Chief Justice that it was her earnest duty to ensure that justice was the only sole currency of trade for the judiciary.
“When you are faced with an extra-ordinary situation like we do now, you employ extra-ordinary measures in order to achieve or attain a just and fair decision. My Lady, Your Brother in Kenya, Chief Justice Maraga has been calling case files whenever he smells injustice or corruption in any matter. And his has the full support of the Law Society. My Lady, it’s your solemn duty to ensure that justice is the only sole currency of trade for the judiciary. My Lady, there ought not be any counterfeit justice or judges,” Changala said.
Changala wondered what happened to the Savenda judgment in the Supreme Court following the reasonable manner in which the High Court determined all issues before it.
“My Lady, the case of Savenda, the High Court determined all issues before it in a reasoned fashion, based on undisputed evidence. My Lady, the questions that not only me as a layman, businessman and a former banker but various citizens, including academics are asking is what happened to Savenda judgment in the Supreme Court? Who owed a higher duty of care; a banker who is a professional and a customer who only has to act in good faith? Obviously, it’s the banker. The Court found that Stanbic Bank broke the law by not complying with the mandatory provision to inform the customer before reporting him to CRB. My Lady, can there be a legal wrong without sanction? Obviously not My Lady. The Court failed to acknowledge the commercial damages suffered by Savenda by its failure to raise money in the financial market and external funders because of the illegal CRB report by Stanbic Bank.”
Changala said it was intellectually and commonsensically wrong to fail to understand that any business rely on the banks to raise capital and if one black-stained them, they lose acknowledged by the High Court and yet inappropriately misunderstood and rejected by both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
“My Lady, Savenda was partially successful in the Court of Appeal and partially in the Supreme Court when these courts ruled that Stanbic Bank was negligent and did not comply with the mandatory provisions to notify Savenda and yet in computing costs Savenda was wholly condemned like the action was frivolous and vexatious. My Lady, It’s authorship of reckless judgments which lead to the conception that money has exchanged hands…” said Changala.