Court News

‘Dipak Patel is wrong’

…State in order on debt contraction

By CHINTU MALAMBO
GOVERNMENT says it does not need approval of the National Assembly for contraction of the both local and foreign debt.
In response to Former Minister of Commerce Dipak Patel’s petition in the Constitutional Court over government’s failure to consult the National Assembly before procuring debt as required by law, Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa says section 3 and 7 of the loans and guarantee Authorisation Act number 366 of the laws of Zambia does not require government to obtain any form of approval from the National Assembly as claimed.
In this matter, Patel has sued the Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu and the Attorney General as the respondents. He is challenging the failure by the government to present all loan agreements to Parliament for approval before they are signed.
He argued that it is a constitutional requirement under Article 63(2)(d) that the National Assembly must approve all public debt.
Patel wants the court to make a declaration that the contraction of debts by respondents without prior approval by the National Assembly is an illegal abrogation of the Constitution.
But in a response filed yesterday, the State said there has been no failure or refusal by the respondents to obtain prior approval from the National Assembly as the law requiring the same has not yet been effected.
The Solicitor General said section 21 of the constitution of Zambia Act Number 1 of 2016 entails that where an Act of Parliament is required to give effect to an article of the Constitution such as article 63 clause (2)(c) and (d) and article 207 clause (1) and (2) the article shall come into effect upon the publication of the Act of Parliament.

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