The Constitutional Court has allowed former Post Newspapers Limited (in liquidation) proprietor Dr Fred M’membe to withdraw his motion for the Court to interpret or review costs he was ordered to pay on December 11, last year.
This was after Dr M’membe, through his lawyer Nchima Nchito, informed the Court that he wanted to withdraw the application so that he could comply with the Court’s directions, which require him to apply for leave to reopen the judgement of the Court.
In this matter, Dr M’membe was challenging the Kitwe High Court’s decision to quash the Judicial Complaint Commission’s (JCC) ruling, which found High Court Judge Sunday Nkonde, the first respondent in this case, with a prima facie case for professional misconduct.
Dr M’membe had petitioned Justice Nkonde and the Attorney General seeking a declaration that the proceedings 2017/HK/771 before the Kitwe High Court (the winding up of the newspaper) were a nullity on account of want of jurisdiction and that the consent judgement entered in that case was null and void.
But ConCourt Judge Martin Musaluke dismissed Dr M’membe’s petition for lack of merit and ordered him to pay costs.
Dr M’membe, however, sought a review or interpretation of the same in the ConCourt.
But Attorney General Likando Kalaluka argued that an attempt by Dr M’membe to move the Court to review or interpret the costs order was nothing but an attempt to reopen or revisit the final judgement of the Constitutional Court.
When the matter came up for hearing of the matter before three Constitutional Court judges headed by Justice Annie Sitali, Thursday, Nchito said in view of the Court’s guidance, he was abandoning the motion for review of costs.
He informed the Court that the matter was coming up for interpretation or review of the judgement in costs, but added that, however, they had an application to make in light of the Court’s guidance that, “where a party seeks to reopen the final judgement, that party must make a formal application to seek leave to reopen the judgement.”
“We seek to abandon this application so that we can comply with the directions of this Court by seeking leave to reopen the judgement. We ask that this Court should order each party bear own costs,” Nchito said.
But in reply, the State and counsel for Judge Nkonde, Jonas Zimba, told the Court that it could not entertain the application for withdrawal in a matter where it had no jurisdiction.
The respondents asked the Court to move in no other direction, but find that the petition is incompetently before the Court and dismiss it with costs.
In its ruling, however, the Court allowed M’membe to withdraw the motion, stating that a party was at liberty to withdraw a matter at any stage before judgement.
The Court made no orders for costs.
“The application to have the motion withdrawn is granted and we make no order for costs,” ruled the Court.