This submission was made by Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa in response to a petition filed by former Commerce minister and UPND member Dipak Patel in which he has challenged government’s move to procure public debt, saying it was done without the approval of the National Assembly and therefore illegal.
Constitutional Court judge Anne Sitali has since set April 16 for status conference.
The petition by Mr. Patel has raised constitutional matters touching on the interpretation of, among others, Article 63 of the Constitution of Zambia on public borrowing by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
Mr. Patel is represented by Mulambo Haimbe of Malambo and Company and Jeah Madiaka of J and M Advocates in this matter where he has cited Dr Ng’andu and Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, who are represented by the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Mr. Patel is seeking an order that public debt, whether local or foreign, sought to be contracted on behalf of government, must be presented to the National Assembly for prior approval.
However, the Solicitor General has stated that Mr. Patel is not entitled to any reliefs he is seeking and the petition should be dismissed with costs.
He explained that sections three and seven of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act chapter 366 of the Laws of Zambia do not require the Attorney General and Dr. Ng’andu to obtain any form of approval from National Assembly as is being claimed by Mr. Patel.
“There has been no failure, neglect or refusal by the first and second respondents to obtain prior approval from the National Assembly as the law requiring the same has not yet come into effect,” Mr. Mwansa stated.
He stated that he was denying Mr. Patel’s statement to the extent that it is alleged that in the correct scheme of the law, prior approval of the National Assembly is required before local or foreign debt may be contracted by the State.
He also denied that Dr. Ng’andu ought to be signing bills for presentation to Parliament for purposes of scrutiny before any debt is contracted by the government.
Mr. Mwansa explained that the proper and correct legislation required and in use for purposes of procuring loans by the government is the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, Chapter 366 of the Laws of Zambia.
He stated that this is until the provisions of the Constitution referred to comes into effect through an Act of Parliament.
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