By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
THE Constitutional Court has ruled that it will hear both the petition and cross-petition in the matter in which former Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu is claiming immunity from prosecution allegedly granted to him by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
This is after the court declined to grant the applications to dismiss the petition and the cross-petition by the State and Mr Lungu respectively.
The State had raised a notice of motion in which it sought the dismissal of the petition on preliminary points of law contending that the petition did not disclose any constitutional cause of action or violation of the constitution upon which to warrant the subsistence of the matter before the ConCourt.
While Mr Lungu applied that the court throws out the State’s cross-petition in which Attorney General Kabesha Mulilo is demanding that it declares illegal the purported immunity from prosecution dated March 22, 2022, granted to the ex-provisional liquidator as it was against public interest and an abuse of the court process.
But a three-member penal of judges – Professor Margaret Munalula, Annie Sitali and Mungeni Mulenga – held that the central issue in the petition and cross petition was the contested immunity agreement.
“Whether the immunity agreement is a constitutional issue or is founded on a constitutional premise requires us to go in the merits of the petition,” said the court.
The petitioner is seeking a declaration that his arrest and commencement of criminal proceedings against him following his re-arrest is an abuse of criminal proceedings and ultra vires articles 180(7) and 2016 (C) of the constitution.
He seeks an order of prohibition directed at the respondents stopping them from investigating, arresting and prosecuting the petitioner in respect of his performance as Provisional Liquidator of KCM.
Mr Lungu is also seeking an order of certiorari directed at the Attorney General to remove into court and quash the State’s decision to prosecute him on the charge of being found in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
He wants an order of mandamus directed at DEC to release all his documents, books, accounts and properties seized in the course of investigations.