By Kombe Mataka

CIVIL rights activist Chama Fumba alias Pilato says the DPPs office has become a laundry shop for criminals.

Speaking when he featured on Diamond TV’s Diamond Live programme on Tuesday, Fumba said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions needed the trust of the people.

“I think we should agree that. We have a responsibility to protect our democracy but also institutions that make our democracy run. These institutions are the Judiciary, Parliament (legislature), and other pillar institutions. Once we compromise the integrity of these institutions like the Judiciary, what we are doing is we are damaging the fabric of our democracy,” he said.

“The office of the DPP has compromised itself in how it has conducted itself. Previously we heard rumours. We heard stories of how she [DPP Lillian Siyunyi] was influenced. We heard rumours of how she was given instructions to treat certain cases. The issue we learnt yesterday [Monday] when we saw that letter the DPP herself makes mention that the lawyers for Mr Milingo (Lungu) wrote to her. They influenced her actions. The autonomy of the DPP must be protected. And protecting that authority is not only protecting it from politicians that are in power or politicians that are powerful. It is also protecting that office from individuals, from lawyers so that they don’t influence her behaviour and they don’t influence her action.”

Fumba said the intimation in the DPP’s response to DEC director general Mary Chirwa over the rearresting of Lungu after his lawyers complained was demonstration that the DPP’s office has been compromised.

“That letter demonstrates that there is no autonomy. The DPP was instructed or was influenced by Mr Milingo’s lawyers to act. That compromises the autonomy of that office. We cannot be in a situation where the DPP cannot be trusted to make a good judgment,” he said. “We cannot have a judiciary where people cannot trust and have no confidence in the people that manage these offices. And I think the behaviour of the DPP takes away that credibility. We will now be wondering how many decisions she has made that were influenced by lawyers of their suspects.”

Fumba said it was in the light of the revelation by the DPP in a leaked letter to Chirwa that Lungu’s lawyers had complained to over the re-arrest of the client days after she entered a nolle prosequi that he had decided to complain to the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC).

“The person in charge of the office of the DPP has compromised her position. In the letter that she wrote to the DEC she said the lawyers had complained to her. So she was acting on the influence of the lawyers’ complaints. Now autonomy does not work like that,” he said. “What we are saying is we trust this woman or man occupying this office to make a sound judgment on an issue. What made the lawyers so confident that if they write to her she was going to issue instructions or summon the DEC director to her office? What ground were the lawyers basing the instruction? The case was with the arresting agencies, the law enforcement agencies.”

Fumba said it did not matter how “thirsty you are you can’t drink poison”.

“It doesn’t not matter how the situation looks like. She has no right to do what she did. The picture that it paints is that this person holding office cannot be trusted to make judgments without such influences,” he said.

Fumba said the matter had exposed the possibility that the DPP spoke to people that influenced her decisions.

He said instead of going for Chirwa, Siyunyi could have written back the lawyers and told them that the matter to rearrest was not within her jurisdiction being that it had not gone back to court yet.

“Wherever influence is coming from, we may not pay attention to the figure that is producing that influence. The fact is that person holding office is acting out of influence coming out of her office. It demonstrates that there are other decisions that have been made or that will be made that could be influenced by outside forces,” said Fumba.

“We have so many corruption cases in this country and we have not had a conviction yet. The office of the DPP has become a laundry shop where criminals are charged with corruption go into office …”


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