CHAPTER One Foundation has been allowed to amend a petition in which it sued former president Edgar Lungu for assenting to bills after the dissolution of Parliament, to include 18 more acts which were signed, among other changes.
This is a matter in which Chapter One Foundation petitioned the Constitutional Court and cited Lungu as the respondent, arguing that his legislative authority to assent to Bills passed by the National Assembly expired after the dissolution of Parliament.
When the matter came up for status conference before Judge Mulongoti, Tuesday, Counsel Chimankata of Messrs Simeza Sangwa and associates noted that the petition wasn’t amended to change the scope of the issues alleged as it still refers to ‘president Edgar Chagwa Lungu’.
Chimankata stated that the petition finds itself in a peculiar situation as the alleged acts were committed by a person who is no longer holding the office of President.
He added that the petition did not also include the ruling of the court which removed Lungu as the respondent and joined the Attorney General to the matter.
Chimankata further noted that Zambia Correctional Service Bill wasn’t the only act assented to during the said period.
“Furthermore my lady, it has also come to our attention that the Zambia Correctional Service Bill number 35 of 2021 was not the only act that was assented to during that period, but instead there are 18 others,” he said.
“Following this discovery, my lady, we have since written to our client for instructions on how to proceed and if possible necessary amendments of the petition ought to be done.”
Chimankata stated that they could not engage the office of the Attorney General because it is unoccupied.
He therefore asked for an adjournment to allow for instructions as well as file an application for amendment of the petition.
The state did not object to the application.
And in response, Justice Mulongoti allowed the foundation to properly file an application.
“This is the order of the court, upon hearing counsel for the petitioner and the respondent not objecting, the application for an adjournment to enable the petitioner seek instructions and to make the necessary application is granted as prayed. Costs on the cause,” said Judge Mulongoti.
In this matter, Chapter One Foundation is seeking a conservatory order staying the operation of the Zambia Correctional Service Act No.37 of 2021 and restoring the Prisons Act Chapter 97 of the laws until after the determination of the petition.
The foundation is further seeking a declaration that to the extent that the Zambia Correctional Service Bill No.35 of 2021 was assented by the President after the dissolution of Parliament on May 13, the Zambia Correctional Service Act No.37 of 2021 is not law or legislation enacted by the Parliament of the Republic of Zambia and therefore null and void.
Chapter One Foundation has further sought an order of certiorari that Zambia Correctional Service Act No 37 of 2021 be removed forthwith into the Constitutional Court for purposes of quashing.