Zambian Prosecutor Comes Under Fire for Unpaid Debts

Senior Zambian lawyer Sakwiba Sikota has commented that the independence of the Director of Public Prosecution, Mutembo Nchito, has been compromised, making him unfit for duties of office at the centre of the criminal justice system in the country.

Speaking during an interview on a UK-based Internet radio CrossFire Blog, Sikota said there were far too many allegations surrounding Nchito that brings his credibility as DPP into serious question.

This comes in the wake of a recent judgment by suspended High Court judge Nigel Mutuna who found Nchito, as chief executive officer of the defunct Zambian Airways, and his partners wanting for failing to repay about K14 billion to Development Bank of Zambia – a public owned bank.

In a surprise turn of events, President Michael Sata opted to suspend judge Nigel Mutuna for passing judgment against Nchito and his other ally Fred M’membe owner/editor-in-chief of The Post, a private media wing running a myriad of propaganda stories for the ruling party.

Judge Mutuna was suspended by President Sata pending a tribunal hearing alongside his counterpart Charles Kajimanga and Supreme Court justice Phillip Musonda.

Although Sata announced he received numerous complaints from the public, the terms of reference for the tribunal to be headed by a Malawian judge are only centered on the case involving Nchito and M’membe.

Sikota, who is also an opposition leader at the helm of United Liberal Party and joined five other opposition leaders demanding the unconditional reinstatement of the three judges, said Nchito had a compromising relationship with businessman and one of PF’s major funders Dr Rajan Mathani.

Dr Mathani is the chairman of Finance Bank Zambia.

Sikota said the issues of indebtedness surrounding the current DPP, whose defunct airline had also borrowed from Finance Bank, were matters that bordered on Nchito’s integrity and credibility.

He said Nchito has recently entered questionable nolle prosequi in matters involving Dr Mathani without merit.

“Any other DPP would not have issued these nolles regarding Dr Mahtani,” Sikota said.

He emphasised that the current corruption fight by the PF government was a mere political ploy to eliminate its opponents particularly members of the MMD.

Sikota cited two instances in which he described as ridiculous cases of plunder perpetrated by the PF government and its private propaganda media wing.

He said a team of government investigative officers searched the farm of late vice-president George Kunda and picked 47 bags of maize claiming it was part of goods obtained through plunder.

Sikota also said a similar case happened to former Mines minister Maxwell Mwale regarding tractors found on his farm as well as another of his clients Andrew Banda – the son of former President Rupiah Banda – who was recently question for among others how he obtained K1 million in his account.

“Now what is K1 million compared to K14 billion [funds owed by Nchito and M’membe] or surely 47 bags of maize found on a farm. That’s ridiculous,” he said sending the moderator of the programme into spontaneous laughter before adding. “What do you expect to find on a farm? What they should look for is K14 billion.”

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