Resign, Amsterdam Tells Mutembo Nchito

robert-amsterdam-zambiaInternational lawyer Robert Amsterdam has asked Zambia’s Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito to resign on grounds of professional misconduct for failing to demonstrate the independence of his office.

Amsterdam, counsel for fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda and his son Henry, alleges that Nchito and his business partners are at the centre of sensationalist headline-based media trial of the former head of state and his family.

In an open letter to Nchito, Amsterdam states that the current DPP should step aside for failing the independence test to continue holding the the position of his office for which he should never have been appointed in the first place.

“Objectively, Mr. Nchito, this position raises important considerations of professional criteria of office. The reasonable apprehension of bias both subjectively and objectively represents a hurdle you could not overcome before any rule of law court.

“It is arguable that your conduct itself constitutes a perversion of justice, particularly in combination with the illegal arrests and detentions of opposition leaders, which have damaged Zambia’s standing as a state supposedly enjoying an independent judicial system,” part of Amsterdam’s letter reads.

Below is the full letter of international lawyer Robert Amsterdam to Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS OF ZAMBIA

MR. MUTEMBO NCHITO

Dear Mr. Nchito,

I write to you as international counsel to His Excellency former President Rupiah Banda regarding serious and urgent concerns over your conduct as Director of Public Prosecutions over the past year.

As you are well aware, His Excellency and his family have been ruthlessly targeted by the Zambian government and investigative wings under your direction in a systematic campaign of politically motivated calumny and defamation with little parallel in Zambian history.

For almost 16 months, the state-controlled media and politically compromised media such as The Post have published a vast array of patently false accusations against the distinguished former head of state and his family, ranging from the disappearance of gold, to trumped up conspiracies of oil contracts, to total non-crimes such as campaign fundraising. The fact that these allegations turn up as sensationalist headlines in the media only to disappear and be forgotten speaks volumes about their fundamental lack of substance. After 16 months of this attack campaign, there has not been one single formal charge or even a real investigation. Worse still, after 16 months, we have not been informed of what, exactly, if any, alleged offence took place.

The purpose of these trials-by-headline is to damage reputation in place of any sort of procedural exercise of the law based upon the presumption of innocence. It is clear that you, Sir, and your former business partner Fred M’membe of the Post Newspaper, are in charge of overseeing a civil conspiracy to defame a respected elder statesman.

Over the last number of days, myself and many others have received calls from individuals who have been brought into some kind of desperate dragnet in an attempt by the investigative wings to come up with some form of credible charge against the former President.

Most recently, the former President was subjected to an extraordinary and illegal request to attend before the Joint Investigative Team to allegedly answer in respect to charges that were, yet again, unspecified. In furtherance of your civil conspiracy to harm the reputation of President Banda, you provided newspapers, including the Post, with this private and confidential correspondence prior to even these requests reaching the hands of my client.

Now sir, let us publicly review some facts. Along with Mr. M’membe, you are known co-defendants in a civil trial where you have been found to owe more than $3 million U.S. dollars to the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ). Your professional misconduct in that case earned the discredit of the judge, as shown in comments he made in open court which made its way into the ruling.

Given the fact that it is uncontested that you and your co-defendant M’membe approached President Banda during his tenure for financial assistance but were refused, you both have harboured ill will towards my client that has manifested itself in this notorious campaign of defamation, intimidation, and harassment against him and his family.

Along with the Patriotic Front’s apparent goal of returning Zambia to a one-party state and President Sata’s determination to wipe out political competition, the Nchito-M’membe defamation conspiracy against the Banda family found an enthusiastic sponsor in the administration.

Objectively, Mr. Nchito, this position raises important considerations of professional criteria of office. The reasonable apprehension of bias both subjectively and objectively represents a hurdle you could not overcome before any rule of law court. It is arguable that your conduct itself constitutes a perversion of justice, particularly in combination with the illegal arrests and detentions of opposition leaders, which have damaged Zambia’s standing as a state supposedly enjoying an independent judicial system.

You have also violated the Guidelines for proper prosecutorial conduct promulgated by both the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations.

The African Commission’s Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa require that prosecutors “carry out their functions impartially and avoid all political … or any other kind of discrimination.”[1] They further mandate that Prosecutors “act with objectivity.”[2] And further, that prosecutors “shall always conduct themselves in accordance with … the recognized standards and ethics of their profession,”[3] and “perform their duties fairly, …, and respect and protect dignity and uphold human rights, thus contributing to ensuring due process …”[4]

Identical standards are included in the United Nations’ Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors.[5]

Your conduct violates all of these fundamental standards of prosecutorial ethics.

Your actions against President Banda, his family, and leaders of the opposition blatantly discriminate on political and other grounds, fail to meet minimum standards of impartiality, objectivity and fairness, and disrespect their dignity and human rights, including their right to due process of law. Your abusive actions fall far below the “recognized standards and ethics” governing prosecutorial conduct.

In addition, there is the fact that President Sata himself has interfered with the judicial process directly in an attempt to benefit you and M’membe by suspending the judges and justice who ruled against you in the DBZ case after a full hearing in a Zambian Court.

This, too, violates the African Guidelines, which mandate that judicial bodies “shall be independent from the executive branch” and free from “any inappropriate or unwarranted interference.”[6]

When you combine your record of contemptuous conduct to the judiciary with the illegal and defamatory attack on my client, it appears that such circumstances one might go over your head to the Minister of Justice.

The Minister of Justice Mr. Wynter Kabimba, however, also serves as Secretary General of the Patriotic Front, and has shown himself to be contemptuous of the investigative wings and to hold himself above the law. For ease of reference I attach a photo of the Justice Minister at the ACC accompanied by menacing PF thugs, refusing to answer substantive allegations over his own conduct.

In such a hopelessly politically charged and biased environment, your attempt to lift my client’s immunity represents a shameful departure from Zambian history.

I call upon you to resign from the post you should never have been awarded, and do the honourable thing, if you have any honour left.

In light of your behavior to date I intend to file a complaint before the African Commission for Human Rights early next week documenting these concerns and evidence of your misconduct unless I receive a satisfactory response by Monday close of business.

Sincerely,

Robert Amsterdam

International counsel to former President Rupiah Banda

17 Comments

  1. Percy
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    But we Zambians are surely docile. How can we allow this foreigner to demand the resignation of our DPP? Even if there was something wrong with our DPP, should this man be allowed to be medling in the internal affairs of our sovreign state? Can Sakwiba Sikota tell the South African DPP to resign? Can that be tolerated? I think we should wakeup as Zambians otherwise we will find our country is back in colonial hands. This Amsterdam thing has even been banned in other countries because of his crooked ways of doing thingd and his big mouth. Are there no credible lawyers in Zambia who can represent the former president? Why do we as Zambians think that only things from outside are good enough? Even the whole former presidency could only look outside? Imagine all the money he is paying that crook going outside the country instead of all the wealth staying within by these people hiring local lawyers. So sad indeed on the part of R.B to hire such an imbecile to be interfering in the affairs of our beautiful country.

    • Prof. W
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      But Percy, Amsterdam was retained to defend his client, and in defending his client he is arguing that the DPP Nchito has broken the law.

      So the question is, did Nchito break the law and violate the African Union’s standards for prosecutorial conduct?

      The question is not where the lawyer is from. Furthermore, do you really think that any Zambian lawyer, no matter how brave, would be willing to stick his neck out in this manner against the PF? Shssssh.

  2. Percy
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    But we Zambians are surely docile. How can we allow this foreigner to demand the resignation of our DPP? Even if there was something wrong with our DPP, should this man be allowed to be medling in the internal affairs of our sovreign state? Can Sakwiba Sikota tell the South African DPP to resign? Can that be tolerated? I think we should wakeup as Zambians otherwise we will find our country is back in colonial hands. This Amsterdam thing has even been banned in other countries because of his crooked ways of doing thingd and his big mouth. Are there no credible lawyers in Zambia who can represent the former president? Why do we as Zambians think that only things from outside are good enough? Even the whole former presidency could only look outside? Imagine all the money he is paying that crook going outside the country instead of all the wealth staying within by these people hiring local lawyers. So sad indeed on the part of R.B to hire such an imbecile to be interfering in the affairs of our beautiful country.

    • Beleg
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      He is an internatonal lawyer, its very immature of you to overlook the facts raised and just debate his nationality. you really must be ashamed of yourself.

  3. Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Threats to Governance in Zambia

    With the coming of the PF, our country’s progress in good governance in has been grossly undermined thanks to incompetent, uncoordinated and unscrupulous PF leadership. Zambian’s are being subjected to lies, immature statements, and muteness on important issues and to be frank just as much as some people at one time embraced this PF government, they hardly know what their party is doing, its agenda or direction at the moment. The only thing sustaining this ever deteriorating government is a biased media and compromised civil society. What has happened to civil society organstaions, what has happened to TIZ, NGOCC, and Catholic Church? In the limelight of the current political situation I have identified 9 people, some are just preposterous characters, some are a serious pain and I believe some have opportunities to make a good impression and shake up things but just can’t do it because of puppet loyalty or greed.

    1. Wynter Kabimba – Minister of Injustice

    At the helm of justice we have an individual, who has shown disregard for a law enforcement agency, has been untruthful in most of his pronouncements and prejudicial towards certain groups in society. Under PF justice in this country lies on the edge, we can actually even call it a judicial cliff. The PF seems confortable just sitting on very contentious issues such as the Constitution making process, Barotseland Agreement and Chief Justice Appointment. What preservation of justice will people get from a Minister who is on record of lying to the nation that the PF never promised to implement the BA? The Justice Minister is on record of confessing, live on TV, that he was offered a bribe. Strangely the custodian of Justice, overseer of justice in this country never bothered to report this offense, and has no future intentions of doing so. What balance of power will the country benefit from if the Judiciary right now is in the back pocket of the executive? What justice will Zambians get if the DPP is a well documented forger? Justice is concentrating on political enmity and not our social wellbeing? Wynter has the simplest and most rewarding job, an opportunity to enact a people driven constitution. Alas, he can’t even see the constitution beyond his “chola boy” opinions.

    2. Kennedy Sakeni – Minister of Misinformation and Narrowcasting

    Kennedy has brought a new dimension to government – public relations. It has got nothing to do with informing the public but misinforming them. It has nothing to do with defending government policy but attacking the critics of government. Sakeni spends more time firefighting than doing his substantive job of keeping the public informed. He earns his living by irritating the public and giving them foolish responses. Sakeni, surprisingly is satisfied with giving the public absurd responses like, “the president is meditating in a secret location”. Since when did comedy become part of government communication policy? For once I thought Sakeni would retracts his statement and claim it was the slip of the tongue and he meant to say “medicating”, because it so unbelievable a so called honorable Minister gave such an excuse.

    3. Lombe Chibesakunda

    The action by the president to prolong the acting status of the chief justice and eventually abrogate the constitution by nominating a non-qualifying person grossly indicates his lack of respect for the basic principle of democracy, the balance of power. If the chief justice is incessantly awaiting confirmation from the President, what balance of power will our system wield? Madam Lombe should make a distinction between herself as the potential office bearer and the Office itself. The office is bigger than herself and her paramount role is to ensure no executive, whether under Sata and anyone undermines the independent power of this office. Her decision is simple and straight forward. All this hesitation is sinister on her part. The politics surrounding this issue is needless when the law is straight forward. The top judge, top lawyer, top justice should simply tell the president this, “Thank you for considering me for position of chief Justice but the law of the land does not allow me to serve in this capacity, But I am available for any other befitting roles”. What is so hard about that our dear Lombe. Copy and paste this line for free.

    4. Rosewin Wandi

    The ACC Director General’s office is a well-protected statutory office which is supposed to operate independently and should not be at the mercy of the president. Rosewin Wandi has demonstrated that she is too weak albeit the office has a strong statutory backing. The open snub by the Justice Minister Kabimba is one indicator of how weak she is. The decision to summon RB was clearly imposed on her. This woman is simply too weak for this position and must vacate office now.

    5. Edgar Lungu

    It appears Edgar Lungu’s role is not focused on domestic security but bulldogging PF’s political enemies. The Minister has now become exempted from following the due process of the law and will deport at will. Even people who openly do charity and spiritual work are not spared. This guy is now a self-declared CIA agent able to identify people linked to Al-Qaeda, According to Lungu, if you are against PF, you are bitter, a threat to national security and an Al-Qaeda agent. His reason for his oppressive action is because he feels there is need for dialogue between opposition parties and the police. Funny enough Police Commissioner Kasosa also appeals for dialogue when she makes uncompromising decision to ban the UPND rally without consultations. What dialogue?

    6. Stella Libongani

    What puzzles me about these appointed and dis-appointed Police Chiefs is that, there’s a magnitude of challenges the Police face but yet they are never too busy for political manipulation and abuse. The police staff levels are too low, conditions poor, they have no infrastructure, they have no equipment, they desperately need to build capacity. About 90% of the police officers don’t even know how to use the F1 button on the computer keyboard. The police should be thinking about embracing technologies that would make their jobs easy e.g. databases, security systems, etc. They are not busy with all this due to their political roles. Limbongani should get busy; we need to hear you speak about progress for police service and not all the time why UPND can’t hold a rally.

    7. Fred Mmembe – Hate Monger

    At one time a champion of freedom of speech but today we have vividly witnessed somebody do away with his self-declared reputation of defending democracy and freedom turn into a dishonest, deceitful and hateful journalist with ill intentions of manipulating public opinion or at least ability of the public to make independent opinions. As a journalist when you take sides on issues for selfish interests, you don’t deserve to be called journalist. If a journalist throws ethics out the window and pursues a quick buck using naked pictures of women he doesn’t deserve to be called a journalist. Fred Mmembe has used his vantage position to publicly abuse some prominent individuals for reasons best known to himself. Some people that come to mind are HH, FTJ and RB. Of the three, the strangest enemy of Fred Mmembe is HH. It’s hard to understand what HH has ever done to Fred Mmembe, apart from being a better businessman than him. Fred Mmembe’s attacks on HH are so ridiculous that people have now begun to question his motive, because it is clearly not journalism but obstinate hatred. It all begun with few UPND cadres suggesting preference to HH based on tribe during a UPND convention. That marked the reference point for all accusations that UPND and HH are tribal, despite UPND holding democratic elections. Today, because of the post newspaper, a tonga who votes for HH, a successful businessman with sound education and successful career, is tribalist because he had a better option. For example why didn’t that tonga vote a former chain smoker, with multiple wives, little education and questionable health? Sata has made blatant tribal statements during campaigns, sometimes insulting an entire tribe but to Fred Mmembe tribalism only applies to tongas and UPND. Fred Mmembe once used a derogative and offensive word against southerners, of the scale requiring prosecution, but some how got away with it. In all fairness Fred Mmembe and his style of reporting is the real conduct most likely to cause breach peace. This guy has been reporting falsehoods with impunity. Remember the “Tonga’s under oath”? Fred Mmembe should stop attacking HH and concentrate on paying back the Kr30 million, because this debt is the reason there is no oxygen in UTH, inadequate highway patrols and many other financial challenges in public service institutions. I don’t owe this rich man money but he owes me Kr 30 million and I want it back latest June 2013.

    8. Amos Malupenga – The Judas of the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI)

    When PF was campaigning one of their promises was to the deliver FOI in 90 days. When the Post newspaper, where Malupenga was Managing Editor, was “in the opposition” they were in the forefront to have this enacted. After winning election we saw a bit of some momentum, pushed on by MISA, but it eventually died down. After election Lubinda promised to put in place the FOI in six months’ time. Lies. We can all remember how the launch date was set, donors (DFID) even pledged to fund the launch and printing. Lies again, an excuse was devised at the 11th hour claiming the Attorney General needs to look at it, and has been looking at it ever since. Where is MISA on this? Compromised? What happened to the vigilant former Post newspaper reporters? Dates have been nothing but blur. Malupenga once promised to take the bill to parliament in July 2012 which never happened. They make sweet-talk promises in speeches before white people but always snubbing the Zambian. What is the fear now that they are on the other side of the fence? Judas Iscariot.

    9. Father Frank Bwalya – Animal Cruelty Suspect

    The media has always downplayed the fact that the Catholic Church has been on record before, disassociating itself form this ritualist, Fr. Bwalya. In fact the notion that Catholic Church is PF was engineered by PF. Sata in his usual public stunts would go for mass and praise the Catholic Church and somehow he managed to secure that unofficial catholic support. The Church cannot forget the enmity during the third term debate in which Mr. Sata was the top villain and antagonized with the Church. However Catholic Church as an institution is not as simplistic as Sata wishes. Nominations to constitution committees won’t flatter this organization which can survive without any government favors and has done so through various regimes. What is required of our beloved church is to reaffirm their non-partisan stance in Zambian politics and eliminate the false notion that Catholic is PF. Fr. Bwalya has clearly lost direction and reduced his fight against poverty to his own individual agenda. I wonder what poverty he is fighting in the ZESCO boardroom, probably his own poverty.

    Governance in Zambia is in shambles, sinking so low that our own government is comfortable with telling lies, defending mediocrity and abrogating the law of the land. Contrary to popular belief that foreign investor are affected more, it is the local investor who suffer the most. Poor governance fuels corruption, discourages potential partners and destroys the countries attractiveness for commerce and investments. The individuals identified are unlikely to bend to any pressure so the ball is in the Zambian hands

  4. Majaliwa
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Amsterdam ni mbwa ya muntu, atemwa ikubi ililya ifisoso… twalikwishiba ulya mushakwiba, makaka.

    • chidyaka
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Majaliwa ndiwe swine ya muntu…pamenso chi mbuzi

  5. Majaliwa
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    finshi unganjeba iwe ka chidyaka mumbwe wa mupamba! ingila muchifwambo we nkola we, telyashi lyamabuta mputi ngaiwe ili iyo.

  6. chidyaka
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Naimwe ba Majaliwa nzelu zau skunk apa yayi. Kwamene uko kuli chi Ukwa chanu chimene mupembeza. Ufotini ni gwa na vamene vichitika sumuziwa akolwe imwe.

  7. Majaliwa
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    lobyo ulo!

    • chidyaka
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      chimuti agalu imwe

  8. Jawal
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    How embarrassing for Nchito – this Amsterdam guy – don’t know if I like him, but yes man, you have to respect this tenacity. He believes what he says.

  9. Booty Shakes
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Imwe naimwe this ass is an opportunist. He did the same in Indonesia and Russia. The ass is some fucking mercenary who always protects crooks.

    • chidyaka
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Ndiwe matako ya njoka Booty Shakes. Choneni, how can you be such a skunk and use this reasoning to defend your Casablanca of thieves. Mukaziganiza ba lubbish imwe.

      • Booty Shakes
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        iwe matuvi yako. panyo pako kwati ni Amsterdam

        • chidyaka
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          iwe fuseki mwana wa satana. chioneni vimeno monga chi cobra

  10. Rusco
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    All of you are right. The problem is, mainly zambians do not know what they want. Even the educated ones are proving to be embasilos. Who does not know that Sata is always on the offensive side? Sata will be off record very soon because of his behavior.