Suspended Mongu High Court Judge Wilfred Muma Pleads Not Guilty

Wilfred Kopa Muma

Suspended Mongu High Court Judge Wilfred Muma has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of willful failure to comply with the law and applicable procedures during his tenure as Commissioner of Lands. The alleged offense, as outlined in the Lands and Deeds Registry Act, has brought Muma before a panel of three judges at the Lusaka High Court.

Facing accusations dating back to his time as Commissioner of Lands, Judge Muma stood before a panel comprised of Judges Pixxie Yangailo, Annie Ononuju, and Ian Mabbolobolo to formally deny the charges levied against him. The case, which centers around Muma’s purported instruction to cancel a certificate of title for a public property in Lusaka between April 01 and December 31, 2018, has garnered significant attention within legal circles.

Earlier proceedings saw Muma challenging the jurisdiction of the Lusaka High Court to preside over his case, asserting that the matter should instead be adjudicated by the Lusaka Magistrate Court as the court of first instance. However, Judges Yangailo, Ononuju, and Mabbolobolo swiftly dismissed this preliminary issue, maintaining that they lacked the authority to overturn a prior ruling that referred Muma’s case to the High Court.

In June 2023 President Hakainde Hichilema removed then High Court Judge Wilfred Muma from the bench The President’s action followed the recommendations put forth by the Judicial Complaints Commission’s report.

In exercising the powers bestowed upon him by Article 143 of the Constitution, President Hichilema made the decision to drop Judge Muma from his judicial position.

Judge Muma’s earlier suspension in May was prompted by the recommendations made by the Judicial Complaints Commission. The suspension was based on allegations of willful failure to comply with the law and procedure in the case when he served as Commissioner of Lands prior to becoming a judge.

Judge Muma was recently embroiled in several high-profile cases involving allegations of misconduct. In one particular case, he was arrested for the alleged transfer of Zambia Army property in Lusaka to the Patriotic Front (PF) for use as party offices. This offense is said to have occurred between April and December 2018 during Judge Muma’s tenure as Commissioner of Lands. During the course of this case, Judge Muma caused a stir when he made an attempt to drown himself in the Zambezi River, although he was later found alive.


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