Power and Politics

Court insists Hichilema was right to sack Judge Banda from office over corruption


The Constitutional Court on Thursday declined to reverse the decision of President Hakainde Hichilema to fire former Judge Joshua Banda, from office for corrupt practices.

The Court concluded that the Petitioner, Banda, had his integrity as Judge questioned immediately he solicited for K130,000 and actually received K63,000 from a David Mwaanza, an under Sheriff, as an inducement for a favourable judgement.

Read more: Developing story: Ex-Judge Banda refuses to take plea in corruption case, alleges duplicity

Mwaanza filed a complaint to the JCC in 2021, before Judge Banda’s appointment was ratified by the National Assembly.

Banda filed a petition in the Constitutional Court seeking among other reliefs a declaration that the justification of the Judicial Complainants Corruption (JCC) to hear complaints against judges did not extend to matters that happened prior to a judge’s appointment to the office of judge as the same is the preserve of the President, JCC and the National Assembly.

He contended the JCC contravened Articles 143 and 144 when it recommended to the President through a report that he be dismissed from office.

“We say so because in his own evidence during trial, the Petitioner admitted receiving money from the complainant and purportedly giving it back because the complainant was extorting money from him. Furthermore, even though then JCC did not act in accord with article 144(2) and (3), the Petitioner was afforded an opportunity to be heard on the charges of corrupt practices for which he was found culpable,” read Justice Judy Mulongoti.

Justice Mulongoti said despite the JCC having not complied with the Article 144 (3) and first part of sub article (4) of Article 144 which provide mandates the JCC to submit to the President a report when a prima facie case, the admission of corruption weighed more, thus declined to grant the Petitioner his demands.

Judge Banda was fired by President Hichilema in May 2022, based on recommendations by the JCC.

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