JUSTICE Minister Mulambo Haimbe says Solicitor General Marshal Muchende’s letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions Lilian Siyunyi was not meant to offer immunity to former Konkola Copper Mines provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu

And Haimbe says Siyunyi’s request for the President to lift her oath of secrecy is unprecedented, arguing that others in her position in the past had defended themselves without taking that route.

Recently, a letter emerged in which Muchende, State Counsel, wrote to Siyunyi in January this year asking her to consider postponing the taking of plea of Lungu, for a few days to allow for concluding of negotiations.

“RE: THE PEOPLE V MILINGO LUNGU. Reference is made to the above captioned matter. Please note that this office is engaged in negotiations with the legal representatives of Mr Milingo Lungu to buttress a decision for him to resign from his position as Provisional Liquidator for Konkola Copper Mines PLC (in liquidation). It has been brought to our attention that there is a matter in which Mr Milingo is scheduled to appear for plea on Monday 10th January 2022 in the Lusaka Subordinate Court. We seek your indulgence to consider postponing the taking of plea to the 17th January 2022, to allow my office, in collaboration with yourselves engage in and possibly conclude the aforementioned negotiations,” read Muchende’s letter.

Commenting on this in an interview, Haimbe said it was unfortunate that the correspondence which was supposed to be controlled was sent out to the public media.

“On the alleged letter from the SG to DPP, again it goes back to the same issue of why do we have correspondence that is supposed to be controlled being sent out to the public media? That is a poor way of doing things. The letter refers to negotiating to resign. It is a matter of public knowledge that a settlement agreement was reached, so no issue there. SG is requesting indulgence, not directing DPP, it was up to her to refuse. There is nothing in the letter that suggests immunity at all so it is baseless,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, there are so many provisions of law which Milingo could have availed himself, including admitting to a lesser charge or submitting to the ACC a full and frank disclosure under Section 80 of the ACC Act of 2012 that would have rendered him taking plea before exploring these mechanisms a sheer waste of courts’ time so no amount of speculation can lead to the conclusion that he was being offered immunity. To the contrary, by suggesting an alternative date, SG was clearly contemplating that Milingo must face the court and the long arm of the law.”

And Haimbe said lifting the DPP’s oath of secrecy was unprecedented and that there was no need to do that.

“Suffice to say, there is no precedent of that again. You know that our learned DPP is really pushing, in terms of unprecedented moves that are being taken. There is no precedent of that ever being done, people have been prosecuted by the JCC, other persons in a similar position, they have never asked for the oath of secrecy to be lifted for them to effectively defend themselves. It has never been known to happen, I don’t know if there is need for there to be a first time but I don’t think so. That would be my comment on that,” said Haimbe.

Recently, Siyunyi wrote to President Hakainde Hichilema, asking him to lift her oath of secrecy so that she could freely defend herself before the JCC.