President Edgar Lungu, who today has traveled to South Africa for medical treatment, has issued an order to constitute a tribunal to investigate Zambia’s embattled Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito on corruption allegations.
As a result, Nchito has been suspended from his position pending the outcome of the Tribunal, marking a dramatic turn in the long-running scandal taking place within Zambia’s criminal justice system.
President Lungu has constituted the tribunal in accordance Article 58, sub-article (2) and (3) of the constitution of Zambia.
This relates to the case in which Former Finance Deputy Minister Newton Ngúni has been pushing to have Nchito prosecuted on a series of allegations which include forgery and false issuing of documents. The matter has been held up in the courts, however, after Nchito made a move to issue a nolle prosequi in his own case. Whether this nolle will stand up to appeal is another question, as the Lusaka High Court later ruled that Nchito could not take over the prosecution of his business partner, Post Newspaper Owner Fred M’membe, because it would represent a “personal interest.”
The appointed members of the Tribunal include the following:
1. Hon. Mr. Justice Annel Silungwe (Former Chief Justice) – Chairperson
2. Hon. Mr. Justice Mathew Ngulube (Former Chief Justice) – Member
3. Hon. Mr. Ernest Sakala (Former Chief Justice) – Member
4. And Mr. Mathew Zulu (Secretary)
During Nchito’s suspension Mrs. Lillian Shawa Siyuni has been appointed to discharge the functions and powers of the DPP during this period.
Mutembo Nchito was originally appointed as DPP by the late President Michael Sata, and has found himself drawn in to a number of hotly contested political disputes.