George Kunda was Right on Mutembo can’t be DPP
By Roy Habaalu, Bright Mukwasa, Moses Kuwema and Ernest Chanda
Wed 21 Dec. 2011, 14:00 CAT [5846 Reads, 0 Comment(s)]
And Mung’omba said the government would benefit from the experience of the Law Association of Zambia president Musa Mwenye, who has been appointed Solicitor General.
In an interview yesterday after the ratification, Mung’omba said Nchito had sacrificed a lot for the country in his private practice as a lawyer.
“Mutembo Nchito is an outstanding lawyer in this country. He came out with a wonderful record, not only when he was at the Task Force on Corruption, but throughout his practice. So I welcome his appointment as DPP. It’s a deserved position, it’s a sacrifice on the part of Mutembo Nchito, knowing just how well he can do as a private practitioner in the country; I’m delighted by that,” said Mung’omba.
“I also welcome the appointment of Mwenye as Solicitor General. He is also an outstanding and courageous lawyer. And I believe that the Ministry of Justice will benefit from his experience.”
UPND and MMD members of parliament led by former vice-president George Kunda rejected Nchito’s appointment over allegations that he had not been cleared of criminal investigations.
After Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini asked parliamentarians who agreed with the appointment to say “aye” and those who disagreed to say “no” and the “ayes” carried the motion but the opposition called for a division which was allowed.
The division was carried out and parliamentarians voted through electronic voting. The “yes” vote had 86 members against the “nos” 50. Five members abstained from the vote.
Earlier objecting to the motion, Kunda said all members of parliament from the opposition would vote against the ratification of Nchito because he was a businessman who had not been cleared by investigating agencies for various allegations.
“We’re ratifying a businessman for the position of DPP. There’s irresistible public perception or there’s a dark cloud hanging over Mr. Nchito’s head. The character and integrity has been discussed throughout the report,” Kunda said.
“Issues of the Development Bank of Zambia, Zambian Airways; these are investigations which will be carried by the police.”
Kunda said it was public knowledge that immediate former Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde was updating the public on the status of investigations regarding Zambian Airways.
Kunda further said Nchito was also being investigated for theft by agent by the Drug Enforcement Commission for non-remittance of fees to the National Airports Corporation and the allegations involving former finance minister Ng’andu Magande for allegedly influencing the postponement of payment of US$2 million owed to National Airports Corporation.
“Mr Mutembo is not suitable for the position of DPP. We must caution the executive; you may be shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not careful. Some of these institutions may be running your government together with some newspapers. We are warning you, some of these people we have dealt with them, we know them,” said Kunda.
But in supporting the motion, UPND Kalomo parliamentarian Request Muntanga said he had no issues with Mwenye but urged Nchito to be above board and not be used to persecute people perceived to be anti-government.
Nkana PF parliamentarian Luxon Kazabu said none of the witnesses gave adverse evidence regarding civil or criminal cases being investigated or tried against Nchito by the courts of law.
Chongwe PF parliamentarian Sylvia Masebo said the Daily Nation newspaper was responsible for the so-called public perception that had been created about Nchito.
Masebo said the newspaper had been running stories about Nchito for the last one week or so since his nomination in order to create a wrong perception about him.
“Somebody was saying there is perception, and I brought this newspaper Mr. Speaker because it is important and I will lay it on the floor of the House. There is a paper here called Daily Nation and it says ‘will the speaker Patrick Matibini save Nchito? And it says ‘Mutembo Nchito in trouble’, this newspaper has been running stories about Mutembo Nchito for the last one week or two weeks since the nomination, to try and create a perception,” Masebo debated.
“I want to tell you Mr. Speaker that the people behind this newspaper, one of them was convicted by Mutembo Nchito and he served three years in jail.
So how can you give credence to a person who was prosecuted and successfully jailed for three years for corruption or abuse of office and he comes and starts writing stories about an individual and you come and tell us that a perception has been built; by who? And you want us to be swayed by such people, is that fair Mr Speaker? Mr Kunda?”
Masebo said it was not fair to try and destroy innocent people because of personal agenda.
She said there could be nobody better than Nchito for the job of DPP and that this showed that President Michael Sata was serious about fighting corruption.
“For him to nominate, select Mutembo, shows that he is serious because there are many leaders who would like to appoint weak people whom they can control, but Mr Sata clearly, he is not scared of anybody because he knows his position. Those who are crying and worrying about Mutembo, they are just worried about what might happen to them because of what they have been doing. That is the only reason,” she said.
Masebo said Nchito had worked for the country, had experience and integrity even in his past life where he served for free with the Anti-Corruption Commission.
“How in one vain can you say he is doing money laundering and then at the same time you say he is going to be bankrupt? This man can make more money without being a DPP, even in the past he showed us that he could make more money than the job that he was given but because he wanted to serve his nation, he just went on and on. Even at the time when people were changing goal posts, he still stood firm…that is the type of people we want, not those who change goalposts because the person who is paying you is different,” Masebo said.
Meanwhile, UPND Mbabala member of parliament Ephraim Belemu opposed Nchito’s ratification, saying he was not a straightforward nominee and that he was tainted and could not be appointed to the position of DPP.