Tue, 30 Jan 2018 09:11:06 +0000
By CHIKUMBI KATEBE
THE Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) should institute investigations against Constitutional Court president, Justice Hildah Chibomba, for alleged incompetence and gross misconduct, four opposition party leaders have demanded.
They have also requested that Justice Chibomba recuses herself from hearing the eligibility case before Court.
This is contained in a petition filed before the JCC, where it is argued that Justice Chibomba conflicted her position when she shared the same lawyers with the UPND who were party to the matter in which President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to vie for the 2021 elections is being questioned.
The quartet have asked the JCC to immediately advise the fallen judge that they were in receipt of the petition so that she could recuse herself.
“This is a violation of the Constitution and Judicial Code of Conduct.
“Further, may you immediately advise her that you have received our complaint against her so that she can recuse herself or we shall withdraw our petition before her,” they complained.
The petitioners, Daniel Pule of Christian Democratic Party (CDP), Zambia Republican Party (ZRP)’s Wright Musoma, New Congress Party’s Pastor Peter Chanda and leader of the Citizens Democratic Party Robert Mwanza have insisted the Judge compromised herself when she failed to acknowledge a conflict of interest with the presence of her lawyer who showed up before her in the eligibility case.
The petitioners further argue that it was a violation of the Constitution and the Judicial Code of Conduct when the Honourable Judge and the UPND shared one law firm, Messrs Malambo and Company as clients within the time the petition was before court.
“In a ruling dated 13th October, 2017 of the Judicial Complaint Commission under cause no. 2016/JCC/84, she was represented by Messrs Malambo and Company, this was about three months ago.
“The complaint at Judicial Complaint Commission was commenced in 2016 against her and other judges, our petition was filed in 2017,” he said.
They complained that being the leading judge, Justice Chibomba should have recused herself from the bench as it was seen as a move to deliberately intimidate the petitioners in the constitutional court matter.
They accused the Justice of sitting on their case since 2017 while her case was active before the JCC under Messrs Malambo and Co. at the same time the UPND were being represented by the same lawyers before her as the Constitutional Court.
“This situation is undesirable and deliberate to intimidate us and the three, i.e., Madam Justice Chibomba, the UPND and Messrs Malambo and Company has an inseparable relationship which any upright person could have changed lawyers or the Judge should not even have made an appearance on our petition as the parties could feel intimidated and believe that there could be bias and collusion,” they submitted.
They charged that it should be assumed that as a client Justice Chibomba paid legal fees to Mr Malambo’s law firm, adding that the lawyer“…who could not have charged her professional fees because they were appearing before her together with UPND.”
The judges on the panel included Justice Chibomba, Justice Mungeni Mulenga, Justice Ann Sitali, Justice Margarete Munalula and Justice Enock Mulembe.
While lawyers representing UPND as a respondent were Messrs Malambo and Company.