The state has applied to refer to the High Court the matter in which Mongu High Court Judge, Wilfred Kopa Muma, is charged with wilful failure to comply with the law and procedure in the pretext that he is a sitting Judge.
When the matter came up on Tuesday for continuation of trial, the state prosecutor Margaret Chitundu submitted before magistrate, Trevor Kasanda, that Judge Muma is anticipated to continue discharging his functions even when he is appearing in the Subordinate Court, a Court he has supervisory jurisdiction over.
“The state already filed in the Lusaka High court to have the matter tried from there,” she said.
She submitted that the matter presents a setting that is very novel in the criminal justice system in that the respondent is a sitting Judge of the High Court for Zambia albeit based in Mongu.
Read more: Judge Muma pleads not guilty to charges of abuse of authority, case adjourned to April, 18
Chitundu further submitted that the application is based on the change of venue from the subordinate court to the high court pursuant to section 80 of the Criminal Procedure Code(CPC) and reasons advanced are highlighted in the affidavit presented before the court.
“This scenario presents a situation which is susceptible to serious imputations as regards the trial court which is inferior to the High Court. The sought-after order, if granted, will be to the general convenience of the parties and will not prejudice the respondents,” read the affidavit.
Chitundu through the affidavit said an order that the matter be committed to the High Court for trial will be expedient for the ends of justice considering the nature of the circumstances surrounding the case.
“This court is clothed with jurisdiction to hear this application and that this is a proper matter in which this honourable court can exercise its jurisdiction in order that the respondent be committed to trial the High Court. I depose the facts in this my affidavit verily believing the same to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge,” she submitted.
Also read: Judge Muma reportedly attempts suicide, a week after appearing in court for abuse of authority
In this matter, Muma is facing two counts of Wilful Failure to Comply with the Law or Applicable Procedure C/Sec 34 (2) (b) of Anti-Corruption Act number 3 of 2012 & Abuse of Authority of Office C/Sec 21 (1) (a) as read with section 41 of the Anti-Corruption Act number 3 of 2012.
It is alleged that on a date unknown but between April 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 in Lusaka, being Commissioner of Lands wilfully did fail to comply with the law, namely, section 84 (f) of the Lands and Deeds Registry Act, Chapter 185 of the Laws of Zambia in the manner he instructed his subordinates to cancel Certificate of Title no. 21818 relating to public property number Lusaka/ LN 8426/1 without following the law and applicable procedure.
In count two, it is alleged that on a date unknown but between 1st April, 2018 and 31st December, 2018 in the Lusaka District of the Lusaka Province of the Republic of Zambia, being a public officer, namely, Commissioner of Lands did abuse the authority of office by requesting the Army Commander to surrender the certificate of title in respect of property number Lusaka/LN-8426/1 and offering it to the Patriotic Front Party, an act arbitrary and prejudicial to the interest of the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
Judge Muma is being represented by James Mataliro and Chanda Chizwe.
The court has since adjourned the matter to May 30,2023 for ruling.
WARNING! All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express permission from ZAMBIA MONITOR.