The State has defied a court order to bring incarcerated UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to court in Lusaka.
And the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s office has applied to take over the prosecution of the contempt of court case in which Hichilema is a complainant.
Last week Magistrate Ireen Wishimanga ordered the commissioners of prisons and police to ensure that Hichilema, who is remanded at Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison in kabwe, was brought back to Lusaka Central Correctional Facility during the period under which the contempt case against National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili would be heard.
Magistrate Wishimanga has since threatened to cite the Prison Authority and the Police Command for contempt of court should they defy her order of bringing Hichilema to court on Wednesday 21,2017.
“I order that the complainants be brought before this court on Wednesday and file notice of service for proof, failure to which I will cite the officers for contempt,” said Wishimanga after the case failed to take off today as a result of HH’s absence.
She said she could not proceed to cite those responsible of bringing the complainants to court for contempt today because there was no proof that the order was served on them.
Meanwhile deputy chief state advocate Marriam Bah Matandala has applied to take over the case.
“We want to take over the prosecution of this matter pursuant to article 180 of the Constitution.”said Matandala
Hichilema’s lawyer Keith Mweemba, however, told Matandala that the state had already taken over the proceedings, and that the lawyers had no say in the matter.
After the court adjourned to confer with the lawyers and the state advocates in chambers following an argument Hichilema’s lawyers led by Mweemba insisted that Hichilema who was the complainant be brought to court in the interest of justice.
Mweemba wondered why the court order was disobeyed.
Gilbert Phiri, another lawyer representing the complainant asked the court to stand down the matter until in the afternoon so that the complainants could be brought before the court to preserve the integrity of the judiciary.
“In the interest of preserving the integrity of this court and the integrity of the judicial system, the court order of this court is a foundational issue and we submit that no further proceedings should ensue henceforth until the complainants are brought to this court,” said Phiri.
But Sumaili’s lawyer Erick Silwamba asked the court to address the standing of the Hichilema’s lawyers in the matter since the DPP’s office had taken over prosecution.
“The issue to be addressed by this court is locus standi, so that my colleagues who will commence this prosecution can proceed in accordance with the constitution,” said Silwamba.
Hichilema wants the court to cite Sumaili for contempt of court over the words attributed to her that HH pushed Lungu to the wall by not accepting his presidency.