NATIONAL Democratic Congress leader Chishimba Kambwili has once again dragged magistrate David Simusamba to the Judicial Complaints Commission, insisting that he is corrupt and hell bent on jailing him on flimsy allegations because he refused to give him a bribe.
On Monday, Magistrate Simusamba abruptly closed a case in which Kambwili is charged with forgery, uttering a false document and giving false information to a public officer and set October 12, this year, as date of judgement.
This was after Kambwili’s lawyers failed to show up as they were before higher courts.
But in a letter to the JCC dated September 22, Kambwili lamented that the manner in which magistrate Simusamba closed his case was unfair.
“As I have repeatedly complained in the past, the prosecution in this matter took three (3) years to call a total of 11 witnesses. I have been forced in the meantime to call a total number of 7 witnesses within a space of six (6) months, a period which was characterized by delays due to Covid-19 including my contraction of the said virus. However, the said six (6) months while I was placed on my defence was again consistently characterized by threats of issuance of bench warrants against me and complete imposition of dates of hearing even when my lawyers have been unavailable and even when I have been required by law to appear before other courts. This I have repeatedly complained about including to the Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia. I have not to date received any response from any institution regarding my complaints against Honourable Simusamba with the exception of a press statement issued by the Anti-Corruption Commission confirming that they are investigating Hon Simusamba,” Kambwili stated.
“On the 21st of September 2020, I again appeared before the said Honourable Simusamba for my continued defence where I was to have a number of witnesses continue to testify in my defence. I appeared on the said date with Ms. Jacqueline Lungu of Messrs C L Mundia and Company as my lead defence counsel Mr. Musa Mwenye S.C was unavailable due to a sudden and urgent Court hearing date which was issued by the Court of Appeal after my last hearing before Hon Simusamba to hear a renewed application for Judicial Review in a matter where I have sort legal redress in so far as Hon Simusamba’s continued presiding over my case when I have reported him to relevant authorities for corruption and that I have sued him for defamation of character. In turn, my other lawyer Keith Mweemba had been excused from attending court on the 21st of September 2020 by the very same Magistrate as he was appearing before the Chipata Magistrate court before Hon J. Bwalya in a matter she was concluding having been transferred to Lusaka. My other lawyer Mr. Gilbert Phiri has in turn been out of the Zambian jurisdiction for the past 2 months and Mr. Mundia who equally acts for me was appearing before Hon Justice Mwila Chitabo S.C in the matter of Getrude Imenda v ECZ and the Attorney General, a matter of very serious national importance involving disputed online voter registration, a case so serious that the court had to set aside all other cases for the day to hear the said case.”
He said despite making arrangements for a lawyer from CL Mundia and Company to explain the whereabouts of his lawyers, magistrate Simusamba went ahead to abruptly close the case, in violation of his rights.
“Against this background, I still managed to make arrangements for a lawyer with Mr. Mundia who was gracious to assign Ms Lungu, from Messrs CL Mundia and Company to seek a brief adjournment to allow my lawyers to attend to my continued defence with my witnesses. To my dismay, Honourable Simusamba not only refused to grant the said adjournment despite there being no opposition from the State but instead went on to even close my Defence in readiness for judgment. Hon Simusamba did not even have the decency to direct Ms. Lungu to proceed with my witnesses for the day. Hon Simusamba even went on to give me seven days (7) within which to make my final submissions and that he would deliver judgment on the 12th of October 2020.
I must state that this conduct like I have complained in the past is not new except that on this occasion, Hon Simusamba has decided to blatantly violate my rights to fair trial including my entitlement to the same facilities the state has had when it took its time of three (3) years to conclude its case. On the 24th of June 2020 for instance, despite producing a notice of hearing on oath that I was required to appear before Judge C. Zulu as a witness in a matter on the fast track, as ably constituted by the chief Justice, which case the Judge had travelled for to the Copperbelt, Hon Simusamba still refused to allow me to travel to the Copperbelt and as usual under the threat of bench warrants which he has subjected me to over the past four (4) years now. I was forced under the circumstances to miss that hearing in total violation of my rights as litigant in that matter,” Kambwili wrote.
He asked the JCC to intervene and stop magistrate Simusamba from issuing a premature judgement.
“My writing to you is to seek your urgent intervention in this matter as Hon Simusamba has made it very clear he intends to proceed to deliver judgment in this matter. This is against the backdrop that he has deliberately expedited my defence in order to imprison me after I rejected his advances to pay him the sum of ZMW 360,000.00 in order for him to acquit me. I am very aware having done my research that my case is the only case he is currently sitting for and that he does not even bother to sit and hear other cases involving other litigants some of which have been appearing before him for the past two (2) years without witnesses being heard even at prosecution stage. This conduct further compounds my findings and position that Hon Simusamba is so biased against me and so corrupt that he is hell bent on imprisoning me on flimsy grounds and in total violation of my right to a fair trial before an impartial Magistrate. One only wonders why my case is so special to him,” wrote Kambwili.
“My expectation is that my complaint will be heard and that this unfortunate episode will be put to its logical conclusion once and for all as my complaints have gone unattended to despite me complaining about Hon Simusamba before different establishments in the past including your esteemed office. It is my hope that the commission acts accordingly to avert a situation where the public continues to believe that Hon Simusamba is above the law and can act with impunity as he so often does. Find attached all relevant correspondence and documents for your ease of reference.”