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SANGWA’S K 5M COSTS CASE RAGES

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

STATE Counsel, John Sangwa, has urged the Constitutional Court to dismiss the preliminary issue raised by the State that it has no jurisdiction to determine his petition where he is challenging the award of costs in proceedings.

Mr Sangwa, a constitutional lawyer, is challenging the constitutionality of section 30 of the Constitutional court Act no.8 of 2016 for contravening the Constitution specially articles 2,53(4),67(3),101,103(1) and 128 (3) to the extent that it confers on the Constitutional court discretion to award costs in proceedings.

But Attorney General, Likando Kalaluka, raised a preliminary issue asking the court to determine whether or not it has authority to determine the petition when it had pronounced itself on the costs in case involving the ECZ.

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In this case, Mr Sangwa petitioned the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to amend the affidavit for Presidential candidate to include the number of terms served in office.

The Court however dismissed the matter for lack of merit and Mr Sangwa was condemned to pay costs amounting to K5 million.

However, Mr Sangwa in his opposition to notice of motion to raise preliminary issue, contended that the court never determined the constitutionality of section 30 of the Constitutional Court Act in the case.

“Clearly, the court cannot be said to be functus officio where a party raised issues that do not emanate from the substantive facts or issues raised and determined by a court. We therefore submit that this court does have the requisite jurisdiction to determine the petition as presented by the petitioner,” he submitted.

Mr Sangwa argued that the constitutionality of section 30 seeks to preserve and protect the adjudicatory forum of governance and to uphold decorum and integrity in the scheme of justice delivery.

He added that was by ensuring parties were not condemned in costs for taking up adjudicatory forum governance as was done in the matter.

“We have demonstrated that the respondent’s preliminary issue is devoid of merit and should be dismissed by the court for reasons already advanced. We accordingly pray,” he submitted.

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