PRINCIPAL Resident Magistrate David Simusamba has alleged, before the Lusaka High Court, that NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili, through his lawyer Christopher Mundia, contacted him on numerous occasions to solicit an acquittal in the forgery case.
This is a matter in which NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili and two others have sued Simusamba for defamation of character.
In this matter, Kambwili and his lawyers Cheelo Mwiinga and Christopher Mundia have sued magistrate Simusamba for defamation for alleging that they attempted to bribe him in order to deliver judgment in Kambwili’s favour in the forgery case which is before the Subordinate Court.
The trio is seeking, among other claims, a public retraction of the false and malicious allegations contained in a letter to the Chief Justice and an apology to them to their satisfaction in respect of all the defamatory utterances attributed to magistrate Simusamba.
In his defence, Simusamba claimed that Kambwili, through Mundia, offered him a sum of money and promised to buy him motor vehicle, an offer which he turned down.
“The defendant shall aver at trial that the first plaintiff through the third plaintiff on diverse dates from inception of the matter latest being on 27th November, 2019 on numerous occasions was contacting the defendant in phone and physically stating that the first plaintiff wanted help in the criminal matter aforesaid by way of acquittal for which he was offering a sum of money and promises of buying a motor vehicle all of which the defendant turned down,” the submission read in part.
“The third plaintiff [Mundia] on 27th November 2019, a day before the scheduled date for delivery of the ruling at no case to answer made several phone calls and sent text messages to the defendant which the defendant declined to answer or reply thereto, followed the defendant to a known place in Lusaka and approached him pleading that the first plaintiff was in a situation of life and death and needed an acquittal. Further, the defendant again declined the third plaintiffs requests and advances and warned the third plaintiff from such conduct and that should be persist, he would be reported to relevant authorities.”
He added that Mundia waited and hang around the known place in Lusaka where the defendant was from around 21:00 hours on 27th November 2019 to about 01:00 hours in the morning on 28th November 2019 when he left the defendant’s vicinity upon realising that the defendant had emphatically declined his offer/request.
“After the case to answer ruling was made, and setting of trial dates for Kambwili’s defence, the first and Mundia embarked on a series of maneuvours, and/or tactics and/or sharp practices and efforts aimed at thwarting or frustrating and/or circumventing the criminal proceedings in which the Kambwili was out on his defence,” he stated.
Simusamba, however, stated that he enjoys judicial immunity and no legal action could lie against him from actions arising from the performance of his duties and further that the subject matter giving rise to the within action being criminal proceedings were covered under absolute and/or qualified privilege.
The defendant further stated that the a day before Kambwili was to open his defence, Cheelo Mwiinga, who is a personal friend of the defendant, approached him and stated that the first plaintiff was in dire need of help to delay the final determination of the criminal proceedings and swerve the judgement in favour of the first plaintiff but the defendant emphatically declined and advised the second plaintiff not to engage such conduct and thereafter stopped communicating with him.
He further stated that he was duty bound to respond to the chief justices letter as it was not an exculpatory letter as contained in the claim.
He further denied any extortions adding that he had no personal relationship or interest in the first defendant’s life and had no cause or basis to destroy him as he was merely doing his duties as an adjudicator.