Prominent legal scholars Prof Muna Ndulo and Dr Obrien Kaaba have described some recent Consent Judgements entered into between the state and some individuals as acts of corruption.
In a statement, Prof. Ndulo of Cornell University and Dr Kaaba from UNZA noted that although some Consent Judgements are justifiable, some are a racketeering scheme.
The duo have since appealed to President Hichilema to put a stop to this.
“We are also concerned that in some cases, the lawyers representing concerned individuals and those in State Chambers have previously had personal connections, raising questions about conflict of interest and the credibility of the negotiations and the protection of public interest in these settlements,” they said.
They also called on President Hichilema to critically analyze his legal team at State House and dismiss those who are behind the racketeering scheme.
Below is the full statement
Press Statement by Prof Muna Ndulo and Dr O’Brien Kaaba on the Consent Orders Being Entered into by the State and Various Litigants
We have observed with bewilderment and disbelief several consent orders entered into between the State Chambers and various individuals involving huge sums of money.
Although some appear well deserving, in a number these cases, there is either no sound legal justification for the settlements or the awards and the legal costs are grossly inflated. For example, in the case of Kaizar Zulu, it is clear he was not acting on behalf of the state and there is no moral or legal justification whatsoever for the state to compensate those he injured in his private capacity. It would appear that someone in the State Chambers is fishing for such cases for personal gain, and that is corruption. It must be stopped forthwith.
We are also concerned that in some cases the lawyers representing concerned individuals and those in State Chambers have previously had personal connections, raising questions about conflict of interest and the credibility of the negotiations and the protection of public interest in these settlements.
We call upon President Hichilema to critically evaluate his legal team in State Chambers and dismiss those who are behind these racketeering schemes.
We are appalled that oversight institutions such as the ACC, which should be in the forefront of protecting public resources, are doing nothing serious about the problem. This should have been stopped a long time ago had ACC been proactive, strategic and serious about protecting public resources.
The deals at the Ministry of Justice clearly indicate that to have a sustainable fight against corruption, it is not enough that the top national leadership is committed to the eradication of corruption. We need institutional transformation. We need to redesign institutions like ACC to make them capable and truly professional and independent.
Professor Muna Ndulo, Cornell University
O’Brien Kaaba, University of Zambia