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Anti-Corruption Bureau, Kezzie Msukwa battle rages

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Martha Chizuma

Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Frank Kapanda Monday granted an order stopping the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from undertaking criminal proceedings against former minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa in a land-related corruption case.

Msukwa sought the intervention of the highest court of the land after High Court Judge Redson Kapindu, in a judicial review case on May 30, rejected his application in which he wanted the court to stop ACB from arresting him.

Among other things, Msukwa wanted the court to declare that ACB could not enter into a mutual assistance arrangement with an international organisation, the United Kingdom’s National Crimes Agency, without the Attorney General’s involvement.

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He was joined in the case by businessperson Zuneth Sattar’s purported agent, Ashok Kumar Sreedharan, also known as Ashok Nair, who was arrested in relation to Msukwa’s case.

In his ruling on the application, where he has stayed enforcement of the High Court’s judgement, Justice Kapanda has called for an inter-partes hearing between Msukwa and ACB on June 28 2022.

“It is ordered that enforcement of the judgement of Honourable Judge Professor Kapindu delivered on 30th May 2022, be and is hereby stayed…

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“The order of stay only relates to and is limited as well as confined to the first claimant, Honourable Kezzie Msukwa,” the order reads.

In his judgement, Kapindu indicated that all stay orders that had been earlier obtained had been vacated.

However, Msukwa’s lawyer, Chimwemwe Kalua, indicated to the judge that they would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

He had further asked the court to make a fresh order to stay implementation of the decision pending a determination of appeal proceedings.

Kapindu, however, said he did not see the essence of an enduring order of stay of proceedings in the matter.

But he had said, in the interest of balancing between the need for ACB to proceed with legal processes at its own discretion and Msukwa’s right to have a prospect for a meaningful remedy in the Supreme Court, he granted only a limited and temporary order of stay for 14 days

“It restrains the ACB from remanding Msukwa into custody pending the determination of the Supreme Court of Appeal on a broader application of stay of proceedings for 14 days,” the judge had said.

He had also ruled that ACB was at liberty to proceed with all other legal processes that it might wish to pursue in connection with the matter.

Yesterday, the bureau summoned Msukwa for a caution statement.

ACB Director-General Martha Chizuma said the summoning was premised on Kapindu’s vacation of the stay order that the former Cabinet minister had obtained against his arrest.

“Remember, his arrest was stayed. Accordingly, we could not proceed with this stage. Now with Judge Kapindu vacating that order of stay, we have cautioned him. Next is to take him to court to be charged,” Chizuma said.

However, Kalua told us Monday evening that the Supreme Court’s order stops everything in the meantime.

While Msukwa was being cautioned, Kapindu reserved his ruling on a separate application by Nair to stay enforcement of the orders the judge made quashing his and Msukwa’s application for leave of judicial review of their arrests and subsequent criminal proceedings.

Nair, who also appealed Kapindu’s judgement just like Msukwa, wants the enforcements pended as they wait for the outcome of his appeal at the Supreme Court.

Nair’s lawyer, Michael Goba Chipeta, said, since they have appealed the case, it was only fair to stay the execution of the judgement pending the appeal.

But ACB Chief Legal and Prosecutions Officer, Victor Chiwala, objected to the prayer.

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