Former DPP Mutembo Nchito has applied for leave in the Constitutional Court to commence contempt proceedings against PF sympathiser Chanoda Ngwira for threatening Supreme Court justices Mumba Malila and Albert Wood with criminal action if they did not step down in five days.
On Thursday, Chanoda wrote letters to justices Malila and Wood, threatening them with criminal action for giving witness statements in a matter in which Mutembo is challenging his removal as DPP in the Constitutional Court.
The court had ordered Mutembo to furnish witness statements, but in his letters Chanoda gave justices Malila and Wood five days to step down as judges for accepting to act as witnesses on behalf of Mutembo.
However, in ex-parte summons for leave to commence contempt proceeds filed in the Constitutional Court, Mutembo applied that Chanoda should be committed to prison for contempt of Court.
Mutembo stated in his skeleton arguments in support of the application for leave to commence contempt proceedings, that Chanoda’s threats against the judges tended to lower the dignity of the Court.
He noted that Chanoda clearly thought that the proceedings before the Constitutional Court were a joke and did not deserve his respect.
“This is an act of blatant disregard for the proceedings before this Court which tends to lower the dignity of this Court. The alleged contemnor’s actions are a very thinly veiled threat against the witnesses intending to testify before this Court. The alleged contemnor went so far as to display his letters on his Facebook page. The letter he displayed bore stamps of acknowledgements from the various officers he had served his letter on including their Ladyships and the Lordships’ offices,” he stated.
“Clearly, the contemnor thinks the proceedings before this Court are a joke that does not deserve his respect. It is on the basis of the above that the Petitioner herein now applies for leave to commence contempt proceedings against the alleged contemnor.”
Mutembo observed that the Rules of the Supreme Court were clear that any acts aimed at victimising persons who had testified or were yet to give testimony, constituted contempt of court.
And in a statement supporting an application for leave to apply for an order of committal, Mutembo stated that Chanoda’s conduct of writing to the two judges was calculated to prejudice the due course of justice in the case.
“The alleged contemnor’s conduct of writing to Justices Malila and Wood and threatening them with criminal action for giving witness statements in a matter in which this Court ordered the Petitioner to furnish witness statements and copying the said letter to the Judges presiding over this cause, is calculated to prejudice the due course of justice in this case,” Mutembo stated.
Meanwhile, Mutembo stated in an affidavit verifying facts, that if Chanoda’s threats against the two judges went without sanction, it threatened to diminish the dignity of the Court.
“On October 29, 2018 the alleged contemnor wrote letters to Justice Malila and Justice Wood threatening them with criminal action for giving witness statements in this cause. That the contemnor has gone so far as to publicise the acknowledgment of receipt from the chambers of Judges of this Court and others,” read the affidavit.
“That the threats by the alleged contemnor were replayed in the ZBNC NEWS at 19:00 hours on October 29, 2018 including an interview which also repeated the threats. That if the blatant disrespect for the processes of this Court by the alleged contemnor goes without sanction, it threatens to diminish the dignity of this Court.”