By AARON CHIYANZO
THE Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has petitioned the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lillian Shawa-Siyuni over the suspension of an employee who was testifying on behalf of the State in the case involving Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
An ACC investigation officer, Mr Chipampe Manda, was suspended from duty based on the testimony he gave to the court under oath on behalf of the State, which it alleged was not its position.
In a letter dated August 21, 2020, addressed to Ms Siyuni, YALI president Andrew Ntewewe said the move by ACC acting director general, Roswin Konde-Khuzwayo to suspend an employee for testifying on behalf of the State was contemptuous.
“The suspension of a State witness directly flies in the face of Section 69(8) of the Anti- Corruption Commission Act No. 3 of 2012 and amounts to contempt of court as defined in Section 116 of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Ntewewe stated that the action by ACC and any disciplinary proceedings against a State witness amounted to a deliberate contempt of court and that if overlooked, a bad precedent would be set in which employers would wantonly suspend employees who assist the court to deliver justice, without any repercussions. He called on Ms Siyuni to make a decision on whether to institute contempt of court proceedings against the acting ACC boss and the commission.
“We are live to the fact that the Director General enjoys some form of immunity against criminal prosecutions but we wonder whether it was the intention of framers of the Anti-Corruption Act to place the Director General and all ACC employees above the law of contempt of court, such that the proceedings can be undermined using the veil of immunity under the Act,” the letter read.
Mr Manda, as ACC witness, told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that Dr Chilufya did not corruptly acquire properties which he is being prosecuted for.
This is in a matter where Dr Chilufya is facing four counts of possessing property suspected to be proceeds of crime involving more than US$200, 000, which was used to buy shares in the Samfya Marines, land on which Spark guesthouse is erected, including a boat for transportation.
Mr Manda said that according to his conclusion, as an investigations officer, the K5, 542, 500, being the total value of the property which was bought by Dr Chilufya’s company Henry Courtyard, which is alleged to have been acquired illegally was less than the income of his (Dr Chilufya) legitimate sources of income.