JUSTICE Minister Mulambo Haimbe says the questioning of two High Court judges by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is an indication that judicial reforms need to be undertaken as soon as possible.
Commenting on the warn and caution statement recorded by ACC from High Court Judges Charles Kafunda and Joshua Banda over allegations of interference with witnesses during pending proceedings of the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC), Haimbe described it as unprecedented.
“Judicial reforms will be driven by the Judiciary itself as an institution. Perhaps for me this is unprecedented, because I don’t know of many instances when serving judges have actually [been] arrested or law enforcement actually pursuing a serving judge. It is totally unprecedented and of course, from me, from a government perspective, it underscores what we have been saying repeatedly as a new dawn government that we will create an environment where law enforcement agencies can operate freely and independently,” he said.
“Whether or not the judges in issue are guilty is a different story altogether. Suffice to say, this underscores the fact that we are serious as the new dawn government in leaving the law enforcement agencies [to] do what they must. But, I think that would also come out as an indication that the reforms need to be undertaken as soon as possible. So I hope that the Judiciary will take a leaf and begin to think about how to effect these reforms that we have been talking about.”
He hoped that the development was a one-off occurrence.
“What I am trying to say is that it is a prayer that this is one-off, that we don’t have a systemic problem in the Judiciary where there will be all these kinds of things going on, because then that really would put the institution in a different perspective to the people. So that is what I mean, not that the law enforcement agencies should not be doing this habitually, no! To the contrary, I am saying it is not endemic, I hope it is in relation to those individuals and not a holistic challenge in the institution,” said Haimbe.