The Constitutional Court has ordered PF sympathiser Chanoda Ngwira to apologize to Supreme Court justices Mumba Malila and Albert Wood as well as former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito for interfering in a matter in which the latter is challenging his removal as DPP.
The Court has further ordered Ngwira to publish the apology on all media platforms used to publish the alleged contemptuous material within seven days from the date of the ruling.
In this matter, Nchito had applied for leave in the Constitutional Court to commence contempt proceedings against Ngwira for threatening Supreme Court justices Mumba Malila and Albert Wood with criminal action if they did not step down.
Ngwira had written letters to justices Malila and Wood, threatening them with criminal action for giving witness statements in a matter in which Nchito is challenging his removal as DPP in the Constitutional Court.
And previously when the matter came up for submissions on May 14, 2019, Ngwira’s lawyer, Jonas Zimba, sought to address the Court and disclosed that his client had agreed to purge the contempt.
Zimba proceeded to inform the Court that he had instructions to tender an apology; in particular that, Ngwira unreservedly apologized to the Court for the actions complained of.
He added that Ngwira undertook to withdraw the statement made against the judges involved as well as make a public apology as the matter was publicized.
Zimba added that the Court had power to forgive Ngwira, especially when one realized that he took a wrong course.
He further informed the Court that he had occasion to converse with the applicant, Nchito, on the new development who had no problem proceeding in that manner.
In response, Nchito equally confirmed Zimba’s statement and commended him for the approach he took of properly advising Ngwira, which according to him was not usual in their jurisdiction.
He added that he supported Zimba’s prayer and that the Court should take into account his conduct.
And when the matter came up for a ruling, Friday, Judge Palan Mulonda, who read the ruling on behalf of other Constitutional Court judges: Mungeni Mulenga; Enock Mulembe; Prof Margaret Munalula and Martin Musaluke, said the Court had considered the turn of events in the contempt matter.
He added that the position taken by the respective parties had effectively terminated the proceedings.
“This matter concerns the interference of legal proceedings or generally the due administration of justice. The position taken by the respective parties in that the alleged contemnor has sought to purge the contempt by making amends, and the applicant is in agreement to have the contempt purged, has effectively terminated the proceedings,” he said.
Judge Mulonda, however, censured Ngwira for his behaviour and warned him not to repeat the same.
He also ordered him to apologize to the affected parties and further publish the apology on all media platforms used to publish the alleged contemptuous material within seven days from the date of the ruling.
“We, however, wish to censure the alleged contemnor for his wanton behaviour and warn that the same should never be repeated! Conduct which is calculated to prejudice or interfere in the due administration of justice attracts grave consequences. Further, we hereby order the alleged contemnor to render apologies to the affected parties and to cause the apologies to be published on all media platforms used to publish the alleged contemptuous material within seven days from the date of this ruling,” ruled Judge Mulonda.