Civil rights activists Brebner Changala has narrated to the Constitution Court, in a witness statement, how Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa and Lusaka Lawyer Lewis Mosho used him in a criminal conspiracy to remove former Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito from office.
This is a matter in which Nchito is challenging his removal from office on grounds that the process used was illegal.
In February 2015, police arrested Nchito for alleged abuse of office, prompting President Lungu to appoint a tribunal that later recommended his removal from office.
Among the charges, Nchito was accused of allegedly disrespecting judicial proceedings, taking over prosecutions of court cases in which he had vested interest, and that he planted illicit drugs on Changala.
But according to a witness statement filed in the Constitutional Court, Changala narrated how he participated in the criminal conspiracy to remove Nchito from office.
“I was a witness at the Tribunal set up to investigate the allegations of misconduct against Mr. Mutembo Nchito SC in his office as Director of Public Prosecutions and confirm the evidence that is on the record of that Tribunal. My involvement in the matter stems from a letter that I wrote in 2012 to the President at the time Mr. M.C Sata, regarding a nolle prosequi entered in a Rajan Mahtani matter. I wanted to have that matter investigated because there were allegations that it was improperly done by Mr. Nchito as DPP. I have now come to learn that Mr. Nchito was not involved. With hindsight, the events leading up to the setting up of the Tribunal after the death of President Sata were carefully orchestrated by a number of persons in a manner that amounted to criminal conspiracy and I regret having participated and I now wish to set the record straight,” Changala stated.
“That after the demise of President Sata and a change in leadership, I was contacted by Honourable Lucky Mulusa who intimated that State House was ready to act on the complaint that I had earlier submitted to Mr Sata concerning Mr. Nchito SC. Honourable Mulusa then invited me to a meeting with Mr. Lewis Mosho and others at Lewis Nathan Advocates’ offices on Independence Avenue. I went to the meeting in the company of Honourable Mulusa and Mr.Thomas Zygambo. When we arrived at the Lewis Nathan offices, we were directed to sit in a boardroom where we were joined by Mr. Mosho, a man I was meeting for the first time and he was introduced to me. Other people began to arrive and these included a person I came to know as Mr. Chabinga and Mr. Keith Mweemba. I knew Mr. Mweemba as he and Mr. Gilbert Phiri had represented me when I was detained.”
He stated that the lawyers involved in the conspiracy drafted the complaint for him against Nchito and asked for his signature, but he refused to append.
“During the meeting, a document with close to seventeen (17) charges/allegations against Mr. Mutembo Nchito SC was produced in the meeting, that included a charge that Mr. Nchito had planted drugs on me and several others regarding the issue of nolle prosequi. The strategy now was to have Mr. Nchito SC arrested and removed from office. I was asked to come back the next day to sign an affidavit that would exhibit these charges in order to take the matter to court. When I went back to the Lewis Nathan offices the following day to sign the Affidavit I found Mr. Makebi Zulu as well. After questioning the new charges, I asked for evidence and/or witnesses for the new allegations for me to comfortably sign the Affidavit. I was assured by Mr Makebi Zulu and a Mr Chabinga (a man I was also meeting for the first time) that evidence was available for all the charges but I still asked that the allegation of planting drugs be removed before any signing, as I did not agree with it and I left without signing of the affidavit,” he explained.
“The next day I was surprised to hear on the radio 13:00 hours that Mr. Mutembo Nchito SC had been arrested and taken to Chongwe. I called Honourable Mulusa who did not answer. I then called Mr. Makebi Zulu and asked who had signed the Affidavit and I was informed that it was Mr. Newton Nguni, a former deputy Finance Minister in former President Chiluba’s government who is also a relation of Mr Mosho at whose offices the meetings to deal with the DPP were being held. Although Mr Ng’uni signed the affidavit for Mr. Nchito’s arrest he had never been present during the earlier meetings that I attended. The ploy to arrest and convict Mr. Mutembo Nchito SC failed after he appeared before Honourable Lameck Mwale and a nolle prosequi was entered in the matter.”
He narrated that Solicitor General Mwansa also drafted a complaint against Nchito on his behalf and asked him to sign, adding that despite refusing to sign the letter of complaint, the unsigned document was produced as exhibit in court.
“Sometime later, I received a call from the Solicitor General, Mr. Abraham Mwansa, SC who was also acting Attorney General at the time, who asked me to take to him the letters of complaint that I had written to Mr. Sata and other institutions concerning the DPP. I went to Mr. Mwansa, SC’s office with my letters and gave them to him. The same day Mr. Mwansa SC called me again and asked if I could go back to his office which I did. I found that he had drafted a letter of complaint to the President against Mr. Nchito SC for me to sign. I had not asked him to draft that letter for me. The letter he drafted had allegations similar to what I had seen at Mr. Mosho’s office including the one alleging that Mr. Nchito SC (DPP) planted drugs on me. Mr. Mwansa SC informed me that I would have to sign it so that it could then be taken to the President to act upon,” Changala narrated.
“I asked Mr Mwansa SC what evidence was available for the added allegations especially the one involving drugs which concerned me personally. He assured me that witnesses were available and that they would be produced. I was still uncomfortable to proceed without seeing the witnesses and therefore did not sign the letter the Solicitor General was asking me to sign. I now know that although I did not sign the letter he asked me to sign the Solicitor General caused an unsigned copy of the letter he drafted for me, to be exhibited as JHS8 to an affidavit of Mr. Joe Simachela, which I attach, claiming that it was the letter I signed. It will be noted that even the spelling of my name is wrong. My name is Brebner and not Brebnar.”
Changala stated that Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu and another lawyer Gilbert Phiri finally succeeded to convince him to sign a complained letter, despite his discomfort.
“After I had refused to sign the letter the Solicitor General drafted for me, a few days passed and then I received a call from my lawyers Messrs Gilbert Phiri and Makebi Zulu to meet them at Mr. Phiri’s office. When I arrived at Mr. Phiri’s office my lawyers asked me to sign the letter of complaint against the then DPP to the President. This letter had already been prepared. It was largely the same as the letter Mr. Mwansa SC drafted for me. They assured me that evidence for new charges was available and would be produced by them concerning the DPP. They indicated that it was urgent as Amos (Chanda) was going to collect the letter to deliver it to the President. I trusted my lawyers and signed although I knew nothing about the new allegations contained in the letter. After this letter, President Mr. Edgar C. Lungu eventually set up the Mutembo Nchito SC Tribunal to investigate the allegations contained in my letter,” stated Changala.
“Sometime later, Ms Alita Mbahwe, Commissioner, Drug Enforcement Commission (“DEC”) invited me to her office where she rendered a full apology about my detention. Ms Mbahwe is the one who explained to me that Mr. Lameck Phiri and Mr. Shubert Sinkala in whose matters Mr. Nchito SC had entered nolle prosequi were officers of the DEC and that Mr. Nchito SC had acted on information provided by the DEC in entering the nolle prosequi that he did.
I confronted Mr. Makebi Zulu with this information and asked if he knew that the nolle prosequi for Mr. Lameck Phiri and Mr. Shubert Sinkala were for officers of the State and not friends of Mr. Nchito SC as I had been led to believe, he laughed it off. Although evidence was promised, I saw no witness that proved the allegations that Mr. Nchito was involved in planting drugs on me or any other allegation I signed for. With hindsight the removal of the then DPP was orchestrated and executed by a consortium of lawyers having vested interests. These lawyers had full access to State power to do as they wished to achieve their goals.”