A scandal involving the ratification of Zambia’s Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito before a Parliamentary Select Committee has taken a new twist, as other parties have been drawn in and found to have misled lawmakers.
Information has emerged that Former Inspector General of Police Dr. Martin Malama and two others misled the Parliamentary Select Committee that was investigating Nchito’s potential conflicts of interest.
According to documents obtained by Zambia Reports (click here to download), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) Deputy Commissioner Lotty Mpundu and Anti Corruption Commission Director General Roslyn Wandi also misdirected the Select Committee in their statements.
According to documents obtained from Parliament, the worst institution and individual that misled the committee was the Transparency International Zambia Chapter and its then-President Reuben Lifuka, a personal friend to Mutembo Nchito and Post Newspapers Editor In-Chief Fred M’membe.
With regard to Nchito’s ratification, then Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) Vice President James Banda also expressed skepticism and gave conditions to the recommendations and so did the Non Governmental Organisations Coordinating Committee (NGOCC).
Former Solwezi Central MP Lucky Mulusa, who sat on the original Parliamentary Select Committee, is not giving up in his push to see Nchito held accountable for his perjury before parliament, which represents a violation under CAP 12 of the Laws of Zambia – a criminal offence of providing false evidence, according to a report published in The Daily Nation.
In a letter sent this week by Mr Mulusa to the speaker of parliament this week (download full letter here), he argues that it is improper for parliament to be summoning opposition leaders Mr Hakainde Hichilema and Mr Nason Msoni for perceived misdemeanors when parliament has yet to deal with Nchito’s alleged criminal violation of the law, which represents a much graver offence.
Mulusa writes: “In this case, Sir, Mr. Nchito gave a false answer to the Committee which had shared concerns with him that given that it was the PF government’s wish that Mr Rupiah Banda’s immunity be lifted, Mr Nchito’s assertion that Mr Banda targeted him and that the downfall of Zambian Airways, a company so dear to his heart, was a consequence of that targeting, would compromise his position.”
The former Solwezi lawmaker also pointed out to the speaker that Nchito specifically swore before the parliamentary committee that he would not be involved in any matters involving the banker Rajan Mahtani, to whom he owed significant debts representing millions of dollars, but once ratified as DPP, Nchito specifically entered two nolle prosequis to benefit Mr Mahtani.
Mulusa continues: “What is of grave concern to the abrogation of prosecution procedures is that in the second nolle prosequi, the accused had actually been found with a case to answer by the magistrate court and had been put on their defence. Nolles can be applied in circumstances where there is absence of witnesses e.g. through death of where the case itself is so weak that conviction cannot be secured. However, in this case all the prosecutions witnesses had given evidence and the magistrate after evaluating the evidence had put the accused on their defence (i.e. the case was very strong and could have secured a conviction).
The letter notes that in return for these nolles, Dr. Mahtani discontinued claims against Nchito for $4.2 million in debt owed from the Zambian Airways debacle. Mulusa asks that the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) should clarify if the debt write-off was not an allowable expense, otherwise Mahtani and Nchito may have evaded tax payments in addition to a possible corporate fraud.
On June 27, Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile is scheduled to issue a ruling on whether or not Nchito’s move to take over the prosecution of M’membe’s contempt case initiated by former President Banda should be referred to the High Court.