The Director of Public Prosecutions has written to Hakainde Hichilema’s lawyers asking them to surrender witnesses and any other material relevant to a matter in which the UPND leader asked the court to cite Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili for contempt.

This is despite the fact that magistrate Ireen Wishimanga has not yet heard defense lawyer’s arguments in opposition of the DPP’s intention to take over the case.

This is contained in a letter sent to all eight law firms representing HH in the case; Muleza Mwiimbu and Company, Keith Mweemba Advocates, Malambo and Company, Messrs, HBM Advocates, Messrs, Dindi and Company, Messrs, Mushipe and Associates, Messrs, ICN Chambers and Partners, Messrs, LM Chambers and Messrs, PNP Advocates.

In a letter signed on behalf of the DPP, State Advocate Chimbeka Sakala asked HH’s lawyers to surrender all relevant information or “another course of action would be taken”.

“We wish to remind you that pursuant to Article 180(4)(b), the Director of Public Prosecutions informed the court that she had taken over and shall continue with the proceedings instituted by your clients. Consequently, we request as a matter of urgency that you avail the National Prosecution Authority the despositions of witnesses and any other material that is relevant to the prosecution of the case to enable us commence trial at the next hearing date failure to which another course of action shall be taken. Your prompt cooperation will be highly appreciated,” read the letter.

The matter comes up on August 28 for arguments over the Director of Public Prosecution’s intention to take over the proceedings.

In this case, HH is contending that Sumaili’s statement that he was in prison because he had pushed President Edgar Lungu to the wall was prejudicial to his treason trial.