ECL IMMUNITY PLOT EXPOSED- UPND ACCUSED OF SPONSORING IMMUNITY REMOVAL PETITIONS
By KETRA KALUNGA
IT is being malicious and irresponsible to demand that former President Edgar Lungu’s immunity be lifted without a prima facie case, says lawyer, Jonas Zimba.
And New Congress Party president, Peter Chanda said it was not a secret that some NGOs scheming to petition Parliament to remove Mr Lungu’s immunity were sponsored by the UPND.
The Nangoma Foundation and various interest groups are on Friday expected to deliver a petition on the removal of the former President’s immunity.
Foundation Executive Director, Matomola Likwanya said the immunity for the former President needs to be lifted so that the Drug Enforcement Commission, Police and Anti-Corruption Commission can carry out their investigations into the various allegations.
Mr. Likwanya said the corruption fight should not be segregative because no one is above the law.
Mr Zimba however said in an interview that it was malicious to call for the removal of President Lungu’s immunity based on alleged corruption because the conditions that have been set out at law when it comes to lifting a President’s immunity are stringent.
He explained that there must be a prima facie case of particular wrongdoing that must be presented to Parliament for the immunity of a former head of State to be removed.
Mr. Zimba also stated that Parliament would then constitute a committee to inquire into that matter and come up with a report and if the report discloses the prima facie case then the sitting President would move a motion for removal of immunity.
He said previously it was anyone that could move a motion on the removal of immunity but that was not the position of the law anymore, it is very stringent.
“In fact, calling for the removal of immunity is actually malicious, there must be a prima facie case of particular wrongdoing that must be presented to Parliament Parliament must constitute a committee, once that committee is constituted, that committee will inquire into that matter and they will come up with a report,
“If that report discloses this prima facie case then the current President will move the motion in Parliament,” he said.
And Mr. Zimba has cautioned those in Government and the public against calling someone a thief without proof and that the approach that was being taken to fight corruption might be problematic.
Mr. Zimba said defamation is real and anyone found wanting should be punished so that Zambia doesn’t turn out to be a country where people just go around and accuse each other of being thieves.
“People must know that defamation is real, I’m hoping for a day when someone will be taken to task, taken to court, take the stand and they must say what people have stolen and what exactly they are calling them a thief for.
Meanwhile, Mr Chanda said attempts to have Mr Lungu’s immunity stripped was politically motivated.
He however said the move was an exercise in futility.
“It is a known matter that these NGOs are just sponsored by the ruling party to make it appears that it was coming from members of the public. Otherwise, they are sponsored by UPND,” Mr Chanda said