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Justice O’ Metre: Recap of cases involving politically-exposed persons, others; December, 2023


Welcome to Justice O’ Metre, an independent tracker on high profile cases affecting mostly politically-exposed persons within the Zambian judicial system, the rule of law and the administration of justice for common good.


The last month of 2023, had interesting developments from the former President Edgar Lungu contesting the State’s withdrawal of his retirement benefits due to his return to active politics, to Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly submitting to the Constitutional Court that the nine opposition PF Members of Parliament expelled by purported party president Miles Sampa were still MPs, and to the suspension of Justice Timothy Katanekwa from the office of Judge of the High Court.

Edgar Lungu Vs AG

Former President Lungu filed a petition in the Lusaka High Court challenging the State’s decision to withdraw his retirement benefits and privileges after his return to active politics.

On October 28, 2023, the former Head of State announced his decision to rejoin active politics and is currently the PF party president, though a faction of it.

Read more: Justice O’ Metre: Recap of cases involving politically-exposed persons, others; November 2023

Government swiftly responded with the immediate withdrawal of his retirement benefits and privileges.

As a retired statesman, he enjoyed a range of privileges, including immunity from prosecution, three security officers, a diplomatic passport, three state cars, a furnished house and medical insurance.

Attorney-General Mulilo Kabesha had, however, rejected Lungu’s application to have his benefits and privileges reinstated stating that the decision to withdraw retirement benefits aligned with Section 5, subsection 1 of the Benefits of Former Presidents Act, Chapter 15 of Zambia’s laws.

But Lungu contended in his petition that the State’s withdrawal of his retirement benefits due to his return to active politics infringed upon his constitutional rights, specifically citing Articles 20 and 21. These constitutional provisions encompassed freedoms of expression, assembly, and association.

Ronald Chitotela and Others Vs Miles Sampa, Morgan Ng’ona, AG

Nine PF MPs expelled by purported party president Sampa and his Secretary-General (SG) Ng’ona filed a suit at the Constitutional Court to quash their expulsion.

The nine described the expulsion illegal claiming Sampa was an expelled member of the party. They further contended that Ng’ona had no jurisdiction to expell them as he was appointed to the position of SG by an expelled Sampa.

They also want a declaration for the duo to stop holding themselves in that position.

The nine MPs are Chitotela -Pambashe, Nickson Chilangwa -Kawambwa,Mutale-Chitambo, Brian Mundubile -Mporokoso, Stephen Kampyongo-Shiwang’andu,Musonda Mpankata-Lupososhi, Christopher Kang’ombe -Kamfinsa, Remember Mutale,Mulenga Fube-Chilubi and Mutotwe Kafwaya-Lunte.

The Deputy Clerk, Cecilia Sikatele-Mambwe, submitted
that the Speaker, Nelly Mutti, had not acted on the letters awaiting the court’s decision on the matter, in accordance with the Constitution.

She stated that vacation of office as a member due to expulsion was subject to the constitution.

“It is only after the confirmation of the expulsion by the court or the elasping of the period within which to challenge the expulsion, that the Speaker is mandated,by the constitution, within seven days, to inform the ECZ of the occurence of the vacancy.

“Consequently, the office of the Speaker has not acted on the letter of expulsion from the second Respondent, therefore, the Petitioners remain members of Parliament,” she submitted.

Mutotwe Kafwaya and others Vs Miles Sampa

Seven PF presidential candidates who had each paid K200,000 nomination fee petitiioned the Lusaka High Court to declare the extra ordinary meeting where Sampa was elected party president illegal.

The seven through their lawyers had also requested the Chief Justice, Mumba Malila, to exercise the powers vested in him by Article 135 of the Republican Constitution to constitute a panel of three judges to hear and determine the matter.

The petitioners are Mutotwe Kafwaya, Emmanuel Mwamba, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Chishimba Kambwili, Greyford Monde, Chitalu Chilufya and Brian Mundubile.

The People vs Chris Zumani Zimba and three others

On December 1, 2023, former President Lungu’s political advisor, Chris Zumani Zimba and three others walked to freedom after the High Court acquitted them of terrorism charges.

The four were accused of engineering the gassing incidences of 2020.

But Judge Koreen Mwenda-Zimba set the accused free on ground that the prosecution had failed to adduce evidence to prove that the accused were involved in terrorism activities.

The other three are Marlon Banda, Given Phiri and Potipher Gwai. They had been in incarceration at since May, 2023.

The People vs Stephan Kampyongo, Wanziya Chirwa

Lusaka Magistrate Sylvia Munyinya found former cabinet minister in the Patriotic Front government, Stephen Kampyongo and his wife, Wanziya Chirwa, with a case to answer in a matter they are facing 11 counts of possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime worth over K29 million.

The couple had been put on defence to the charges contrary to section 71 (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.

Mgistrate Munyinya had ruled that the Prosecution had establised a prima facie case against the accused.

In this matter it is alleged that Kampyongo between January 1, 2012 and September 30, 2021, did possess property number Lus/38467 located off Twin Palm Road in Lusaka valued at K1, 600, 000 and property number Lus/24406 located off Lilayi Road, Libala South valued at K860, 000.

It is also alleged that he possesses property number F/135/4301 and property number F/137/4301 both located in Eureka Park comprising incomplete double storey house valued at K11, 100, 000.00, property number KAF/Ln 59832/8 and KAF/59832/9 in Chifwema area valued at K1, 600, 000.

Charges against Chirwa are that between January 1, 2012 and September 30, 2021 she possessed property number F/135/4301 and property number F/179/4301 located in Eureka Park off Kafue Road valued at K11, 100, 000.00.

It is also alleged that she possesses property number F/33/a/F/2470 and property number F/33/a/F/2471 located in Meanwood Ndeke, Lusaka valued at K2, 100, 000.

Further allegations are that, Chirwa possesses property number F/609/E/77/A48 and property number F/609/E/77/A485 located in Foxdale Lusaka valued at K5, 200, 000 property number L/2131/m/a/2/cl/11 valued at K1, 200, 000.00 located in Ibex Hill, Lusaka, property number L/2131/M/A/2/CL/10 valued at K1, 200, 000.00 located in Ibex Hill, Lusaka, property number L/30168/m and property number L/30167/M located in Mikango Lusaka valued at K2, 110, 000.

It is also suspected that Chirwa did possess K1, 382, 513.84 and K1, 200, 000 in two separate bank accounts held with Indo Zambia Bank.

The DPP vs Re-property

The Director of Public Prosecutions’ application for an order for the forefeiture of the Jet plane used in the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) faced opposition by the owner who contended that it was not tainted property.

According to the affidavit in opposition filed in the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, Global Express T7-WSS Jet is owned and registered in the name of World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited and registered with the San Marino Civil Aviation Authority.

Ibis Air is the management company that had been engaged by the owner.

Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act described the Jet as premises and not property.

Mohamed Aldamasy said that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the Jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

He contended that the Jet plane was not tainted property as neither the management company nor owner of the jet had used the jet to commit a serious crime or was connected to any person who may have committed any serious such crime.

The People vs Sean Tembo

Opposition Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) leader, Sean Tembo, had in December been dragged to Court twice for allegedly insulting President Hakainde Hichilema.

He first appeared and pleaded not guilty to the masturbation remark.

But barely three weeks later, he was again taken to Court for insulting the Head of State.

Tembo, 43, is charged with one count of use of insulting language, Contrary to Section 179 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.”

Facts are that on August 27, 2023, Tembo did post on his Facebook page did say “Bally apa akangiwa kuipa. But mu 2026 ngati bantu bafuna kuvotela chipuba chinangu,its fine, SET can wait for 2031.”

The said words were refered to Mr Hichilema, in a manner likely to provoke or cause the said person to break the public peace or to committ an offence.

The People vs Peter Kashala

PF cadre, Peter Kashala, alias, Peter Ma-chain appeared before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court and pleaded not guilty to carrying a gun to court.

Kashala, 36, is alleged to have carried a weapon to the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on November 21, 2023 which is a public place and conducted himself in a disorderly manner.

He denied the charges before magistrate Constance Kasankala.

He was charged with three counts of unlawful possession of a pistol, going armed in public and idle and disorderly persons.

In count one it is alleged that on November 21, 2023 the accused without lawful occasion went armed in public to cause terror to any person.

It is alleged in the second count that Kashala on the same date conducted himself in a manner likely to cause breach of peace.

In the last count, he is accused of possessing a Grison Pistol 9 millimeters and 15 rounds of ammunition without a license.

Judge Katanekwa suspended

President Hakainde Hichilema last week suspended Justice Timothy Katanekwa from exercising his duties as puisne Judge of the High Court.

This was after the Judicial Complaints Commission presented its report to the President.

Hichilema’s decision to suspend Justice Katanekwa was in exercise of powers bestowed upon him by Article 144(3) of the Constitution.

In 2013, late President Michael Sata suspended Justice Katanekwa for alleged professional misconduct.

A lusaka businessman, Misheck Chatora in April, 2023, wrote a letter of complaint to JCC accusing Justice Katanekwa of injustice against Maritime Freight in a matter against Zambian Breweries in November, 2011.

Judge Katanekwa was in October this year summoned to appear before JCC in relation to the complaint.

He had also been accused of incompetency as matters take too long to be concluded.

At the time of his suspension, Justice Katanekwa was presiding over the matter Miles Sampa was challenging his suspension. Judge Katanekwa granted Sampa restraining order against senior party officials who included Given Lubinda and Nickson Chilangwa.

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