ACTIONAID country director Nalucha Ziba says the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should tell the public why it decided to enter a nolle prosequi in a case in which former Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu was charged with theft and money laundering involving K4.4 million.
In an interview, Ziba said the office of the DPP needed to inform citizens why the State was not interested in pursuing the matter further considering the amounts involved.
“Our understanding as ActionAid is that it is [on] record by the state that they have no further interest in undertaking prosecution. Our expectation is that since it is a case that involves public interest, it will be ideal for the Office of the DPP to also publicly indicate why they do not want to prosecute the case, further considering that it is a case which falls under the realm of public interest, it has raised a lot of public interest. Considering that KCM deals with mining which forms part of the country’s national assets, so perhaps we are of the considered view that the office of the DPP needs to inform the citizenry, the owners of the copper why the State is not interested in pursuing further the prosecution,” Ziba said
“The sums of money that were being mentioned in that case are quite huge looking at Zambia’s resource envelope and how the country right now is struggling economically even just to provide for medicines in hospitals as well as adequate infrastructure in education. That is why we are stating that there is need for government to state why they do not further want to take on the case as it leaves a lot of anxiety in the citizenry considering the amount of funds that are involved in that case. And also, could it be a case of whether government was wrong? So those are some of the areas that the public will be interested to know so that in future, it also gets to know what sort of technical support mechanisms that will be needed in order to ensure that such cases in future are not abandoned by the State.”
She said the law should be reviewed to compel the Office of the DPP to provide full disclosure on why they were entering a nolle in cases of public interest, to promote transparency.
“Those are areas where we need to look at reviewing the law, for cases that are of public interest, let them state why they are not going to do [it] because at the end of the day, it can be misconstrued as the legal justice system is being used to please people who are politically exposed when they commit crimes. So what about our ordinary citizenry? While on the other hand probably they might have valid reasons why as a State they cannot continue with the case, there is need in future for cases of public interest, for the Office of the DPP to be compelled to provide full disclosure to the public for reasons of transparency and accountability,” said Ziba.