By NATION REPORTER
THE Lusaka Magistrate court was treated to some drama yesterday when defence lawyers apologised and withdrew an application seeking the recusal of presiding magistrate in the matter of Insurance director accused of fraud, among other charges.
The defence lawyers were forced to apologise and withdrew the application asking the magistrate to recuse herself without evidence, but their apology was too late as the court decided to report the matter to the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ).
This was after the defence told the court that magistrate Alice Walusiku had been reported to the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) for alleged prejudice and bias in the manner she was handling the case of three Ultimate Insurance bosses.
In this matter, the three accused persons Tobias Milambo, Nachi Musonda, and Richard Lubemba are now facing 15 counts of forgery, uttering false documents, obtaining goods by false pretence, and theft of US$41, 980.45 from Ultimate Insurance.
When the matter came up for commencement of trial yesterday, defence lawyer Jonas Zimba, of Makebi Zulu and Company, applied to Ms. Walusiku to recuse herself from handling the matter because the accused persons on Wednesday this week filed a complaint against her at the JCC. Mr. Zimba said in the complaint the three have raised the issue of bias on Ms. Walusiku’s part tilted towards complainant in the main matter Felicitas Kabwe Chibamba, who is a minority shareholder in Ultimate Insurance.
In response, public prosecutor Noah Zimba said Mr. Zimba’s application bordered on contempt of court, adding that his grounds for Ms. Walusiku to recuse herself were speculative.
While Mr. Mwanza was still making his submission, another defence lawyer Nchima Nchito told the court that they were withdrawing the application for recusal in court but maintained that the process against Ms. Walusiku at the JCC would continue.
In turn Ms. Walusiku said pertinent issues raised by the defence needed to have a logical conclusion and that since collateral damage had been done, she will report the matter to the Law Association of Zambia.
By NATION REPORTER