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Court rebuffs Anti-Corruption Bureau application again

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Martha Chizuma

High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda Monday threw out an application by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for the court to stay its earlier ruling, delivered on October 3 2022, in which Nyirenda refused to recuse himself in the case involving former Inspector General of Police George Kainja.

The ACB wanted the court to stay the ruling pending an appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Among other things, the ACB claimed that the judge was conflicted in the matter.

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Kainja’s lawyer Gift Nankhuni told reporters outside the court Monday that the court cited a number of reasons for turning down the application, including that the application was “incompetent”.

The court has since set aside November 15 as the day it will hear two other preliminary objections by the ACB in the matter.

ACB lawyer Imran Saidi could not come out clearly on whether the graft-busting body would proceed with its appeal at the Supreme Court following Monday’s determination, saying he needed to consult his superiors on the matter.

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On October 3 this year, Nyirenda dismissed, with costs, an application by ACB asking him to recuse himself in the case in which Kainja is challenging his arrest.

Among other things, Nyirenda said in his October 3 ruling that the ACB failed to cite any law under which the application for recusal was brought.

According to Nyirenda, although the ACB, in an open court, had claimed that the matter was sensitive, the graft-busting body failed to produce supporting evidence when the case was moved to his chambers.

Nyirenda said an application for recusal of a judge has the real potential of not only tarnishing the reputation of the judge concerned but also causing psychological, mental and emotional pain because judges are humans too.

“It is, therefore, imperative that a party thinking of making an application for recusal of a judge must not bring it unless he or she is definite that there are good grounds for doing so and, more importantly, he or she has legally relevant facts to prove the allegations to the high standard of proof set by the law.

“The practice of making unsubstantiated allegations of bias must be left to Luhangas and Longwes of this world and people of their ilk,” he said.

Kainja was arrested on June 23 this year for allegedly receiving a bribe from businessperson Zuneth Sattar to influence a procurement contract of 350,000 food rations at police.

The former police boss then applied for a judicial review challenging ACB’s decision to arrest him based on information obtained from a foreign body, the British National Crime Agency.

President Lazarus Chakwera fired Kainja on June 23 2022 after his name was allegedly mentioned in Sattar’s corruption report.

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