CiSCA chairperson Bishop John Mambo has pleaded guilty to a contempt of court charge in the Supreme Court, saying he didn’t mean to bring the court into disrepute or undermine its authority.
Bishop Mambo had last month denied the charge and asked for more time to hire a lawyer saying he had not hired one ealier because he did not know what he was called to court for.
But SANAC executive director Gregory Chifire has maintained his plea of not guilty in the same matter.
Meanwhile Rainbow Newspaper editor-in-chief Derrick Sinjela has also pleaded guilty to contempt of court.
Bishop Mambo is alleged to have committed contempt by writing a letter to the Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima on May 12, 2018, over the Savenda Vs Stanbic matter.
“The legal suit against the bank by Savenda, though given a favorable decision at the lower court, was suspiciously overturned by the higher court on appeal…most judges seem to be more interested in achieving personal ambitions at the expense of justice for all and equality before the law…,” read Bishop Mambo’s letter in part.
And when the matter came up in the Supreme court before the full bench, Thursday, bishop Mambo, who was represented by three lawyers, reversed his earlier plea and pleaded guilty to the charge.
His lawyers told the court that their client wanted to purge his contempt.
In his purge, bishop Mambo apologised for the contemptuous remarks emanating from the letter he wrote.
He said when he wrote it, he did not mean to bring the court into disrepute or undermine its authority.
Bishop Mambo said his intentions were to raise what he believed were concerns of alleged corruption with respect to the judiciary.
“Little did I know that sending the letter would bring me into contempt with the entire bench. My actions are regrettable. I sincerely apologise,” he said as he also quoted some Bible scriptures on forgiveness.
Asked by Justice Mwanamwambwa whether he read the judgments passed by the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court over the Savenda and Stanbic bank case, bishop Mambo said he didn’t read the judgement passed by the courts in that case.
He said he wished he didn’t write the letter.
“I did not read the judgment apart from what is in public domain. I wish I did not write the letter,” bishop Mambo said.
He accused some media houses of misinterpreting the contents of his letter to Justice Mambilima.
Meanwhile the court said it was reckless for bishop Mambo to have published a letter before reading about the judgments in that case.
The matter has been adjourned for ruling to a date to be announced.
And Chifire who also appeared for hearing in the matter he’s charged with four counts of contempt of court in connection with Savenda Vs Stanbic judgment, has maintained his earlier plea of not guilty.
The matter has been adjourned to September 19, 2018 for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile Rainbow Newspaper editor-in-chief Derrick Sinjela has pleaded guilty to contempt of court.
It is alleged that Sinjela, as editor-in-chief of Rainbow Newspaper, published or caused to be published, an article by Derrick Sinjela titled “Zambian Supreme Court verdict in the Savenda vs Stanbic Bank is ‘questionable’ says COMESA, SADC journalist.
Sinjela pleaded guilty and apologised.
The matter has been adjourned to September 25, 2018.