DPP COMPROMISED…he’s become partisan, has betrayed himself – Changala
By Ernest Chanda(The Mast)
GOVERNANCE activist Brebner Changala has advised Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Gilbert Phiri against being partisan in the matter involving Miles Sampa and the PF.
Phiri has rejected a request by PF lawyer Makebi Zulu to conduct a private prosecution in a criminal matter involving Matero PF member of parliament Miles Sampa who has changed names of office bearers in the former ruling party’s register at the Registrar of Societies.
When the matter came up in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court yesterday, the DPP chambers availed a letter authored by Phiri, which stopped the case.
This is the second time Phiri has rejected a private prosecution this year.
A few months ago, Socialist Party leader Fred M’membe applied to the DPP chambers to have Inspector General of Police Graphael Musamba prosecuted.
This is in a matter where Dr M’membe sued Musamba for criminal defamation.
RE: PERMISSION TO CONDUCT A PRIVATE PROSECUTION – THE PEOPLE VS MILES BWALYA SAMPA AND MORGAN NGONA
I refer to your letter dated 28th November, 2023 regarding the above captioned matter. The contents are therein duly noted,” wrote Phiri. “Upon careful perusal of your request including documents enclosed, I regret to advise that consent to prosecute this matter cannot be granted because of current civil proceedings in the High Court of judicature of Zambia bearing on the same subject matter. This office is ever so mindful of the need to maintain the integrity of the judicial system and the need to prevent and avoid abuse of the legal process. Kindly be accordingly informed.”
But Changala said the letter itself from the DPP reveals something strange.
“It says he cannot prosecute that matter because there’s a civil matter in the High Court. Now, when did civil matters and criminal matters operate at the same trajectory? He has betrayed himself there. If what was in court today was a civil matter it would make sense. But what was in court today was a criminal matter, which was forgery. What is in the High Court is a civil matter, which is a dispute. So, he can’t use the one in the High Court as the basis of discontinuing a criminal matter,” Changala argued. “The DPP does not prosecute civil matters. So he cannot attach himself to a civil matter. Something doesn’t add up. But it also shows you that the DPP is compromised, and he has joined the Executive and he’s being controlled by the Executive. He’s not an impartial DPP. And in any case, how did the DPP come to know about the civil matter in the High Court? Was anything raised? And more ss, the magistrate had subpoenaed the former registrar and the current Registrar who had come to court because the magistrate knows this is a criminal matter. So the DPP is acting on instructions of the Executive who are so much embroiled in the PF wrangles because this is a criminal matter. Now, the question is, who is supposed to prosecute this criminal act of forgery? Because it’s a criminal matter! And the DPP is like he’s more interested in prosecuting criminal matters that involve the opposition. You can imagine if this forgery was done by an opposition leader, he was going to celebrate. Now that it’s an allegation towards an agent of the Executive, the DPP jumps in. This DPP is compromised. As we all know he has been a life lawyer for the current Head of State. The DPP is a lifetime lawyer for the current President no wonder things are happening in a manner… This is a man who celebrates prosecuting the opposition while protecting the Executive.”
Changala warned that if Phiri continues on this trajectory, he will be removed like others before him when UPND loses power.
“The current DPP as a former personal lawyer of President Hakainde Hichilema has become partisan and political. He has been stopping the prosecution of criminal matters which involve the opposition. He’s quick to prosecute all criminal matters that involve the opposition. The same DPP authorised the prosecution of Saboi Imboela in a private matter where [State House chief communications specialist Clayson] Hamasaka sued Saboi for alleged criminal defamation. This shows you that he is a UPND cadre. He is prosecuting Saboi write now in a private matter involving Hamasaka,” Changala said yesterday. “Now, that is not the way an independent office of DPP operates. The DPP is supposed to bring cases that favour the State as well as cases that do not favour the State. He’s supposed to be impartial and independent. And DPP Gilbert Phiri has clearly decided to continue the abuse of the DPP chambers. And should there be a regime change he will be hounded out like a common criminal like it has happened to others because he’s willingly laying the ground for his removal at an appropriate time.”
He contended that by Zambian law criminal matters take priority over civil matters, hence Phiri’s argument cannot stand.
“It is undebatable and unwritten law that criminal matters take precedence over civil matters. And the matters involving Miles Sampa and PF are highly contentious. And by blocking the only available legal means in trying to resolve these issues he’ll be abating civil disobedience and diluting the very essence of the judicial process and the Constitution that he swore to uphold and protect,” Changala said. “And this abuse of State power will in no time consume him and those who are using him like a mop to destroy the judicial system. He’s biased and a danger to criminal justice system. My appeal to Mr Gilbert Phiri is to stay away from politics. We know his appointment was a favour and a payment for all the jobs that he did for UPND and Mr Hakainde in particular. But to use a state institution to abate injustice is a serious criminal matter in itself. And the day to account shall indeed dawn, and he will just run away himself because Zambians are keeping a record.”
He charged that Phiri’s behaviour has confirmed that the State is behind what he termed the PF project.
He said the government is scared because of the witnesses Zulu subpoenaed in the matter.
“So far, the Patriotic Front have failed to resolve their matters legally as per the law established because there are many ropes on the judicial highway where the chambers of the DPP are just one of them. But I must put it on record that what has scared them is the subpoena of the former registrar of societies [Thandiwe Mhende] and the current [acting] Registrar of Societies,” said Changala. “But what the DPP has firmly confirmed is that the Miles Sampa project is State inspired. And it has the full support of the Executive and to some extent the judicial arm of government but fully recognised in this mess by the Legislature. But there will be a time to account for all those who are abating this criminality because this whole thing is a criminal project planned and inspired by the Executive which has lost the true legitimacy to hold on to power.”