Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa has sued Lusaka High Court Judge Sunday Nkonde for breaching the Constitution.
In petition filed in the Lusaka High Court, Monday, Sangwa who runs a law firm with Robert Simeza, stated that Judge Nkonde failed to afford him an opportunity to hear his case as guaranteed by the Constitution.
He complained that the conduct of Judge Nkonde was unethical as he evaded to hear the matter using appalling excuses, despite a certificate of urgency being filed before his Court.
Judge Nkonde is said to have refused to hear the appeal in which Finsbury Investment lost a court dispute related to the ownership of the Zambezi Portland Cement case to the Italian family, the Ventriligias of Ndola.
“It was still and still is the Petitioner’s firm belief, based on the series of events outlined: the decision to deliver the judgement on Friday at about 23:00 hours; the Respondent’s refusal to see the Petitioner on Saturday May 19; the Respondent’s absence from his chambers on Monday May 21; and the Respondent’s decision to schedule the application for stay of execution of judgement for inter-partes hearing on May 24, were all deliberate. Together they were meant and intended to frustrate the application to stay the judgement of the High Court constituted by the Respondent pending appeal and undermine the appeal, which is before the Court of Appeal,” read the petition.
Sangwa proceeded to seek an appeal through the Appeals Court which referred him back to Judge Nkonde’s Court to exhaust procedure.
But Judge Nkonde proceeded to issue criminal summons and cited Sangwa for contempt.
“On June 1, the Respondent on his own and own his own right issued a document titled: “summons to an accused under the inherent jurisdiction of the court” directed to the petitioner wherein the petitioner was commanded in the name of the President to appear before the Respondent at 10:30 hours on June 11 and on every adjournment of the court until the matter is disposed off to show cause why the petitioner should not be cited and committed or punished for contempt on one count, which read; ‘You John Sangwa on May 22 in Lusaka, deponed or said in the affidavit in support of the application for an injunction pending appeal in a matter between Finsbury Investments Limited and Antonio Ventriglia as follows; I have no doubt in mind that the judge’s absence from his chambers on Monday was deliberate and was intended to frustrate the application to stay his judgement pending appeal and undermine the appeal which is before his court,” read the petition.
Sangwa has since petitioned the High Court to quash the summons issued against him by Judge Nkonde and to nullify them as null and void for lack of constitutional basis.
“The petitioner therefore prays that he be granted an injunction restraining the Respondent from commencing or causing to be continued or prosecuted the contempt proceedings against the petitioner based on the summons to the accused person dated June 1. A declaration that the Summons to the accused issued by the Respondent against the Petitioner, is ultra vires article 18 of the Constitution and of no effect. The petitioner claims that the costs by these proceedings be paid by the Respondent personally to the petitioner,” read the petition.