Supreme Court of Appeal judge Frank Kapanda has granted a stay order, restraining Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from commencing criminal proceedings against former minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa pending appeal of their application for leave of judicial review of their arrest.
The former lands minister was arrested last December alongside businessperson Ashok Nair on corruption allegations relating to land deals with United Kingdom-based businessman Zuneth Sattar.
However, the granting of leave to appeal was confined to Msukwa because the court did not hear any representations from Nair, even after it had invited him through his counsel to do so.
In his judgement delivered on Thursday, Kapanda also added Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda as a party to the appeal.
Msukwa’s lawyer Chimwemwe Kalua confirmed in an interview yesterday that Chakaka-Nyirenda was added because the appeal raises matters to do with the Constitution as well as the AG’s office.
The ruling comes a month after Kapanda sustained an ex-parte order during a hearing in Mzuzu where Kalua argued there were still questions of law that the Supreme Court of Appeal needed to address before any proceedings began.
Kalua said yesterday in an interview, they were satisfied with the outcome of their application and were prepared to pursue the appeal for its logical conclusion.
“We feel our clients’ needs have been met so far because we have serious matters to be contested in the Supreme Court and, therefore, before any further processes can be undertaken it is appropriate that those issues are dealt with,” he said.
Among others, the Supreme Court observed the Notice of Appeal lodged by Msukwa and Nair indeed raised serious issues of law that need to be attended to by the Supreme Court.
It is on that score that the Supreme Court granted the stay because allowing a criminal process in a lower court to continue while there is an appeal would have meant that the appeal is of no meaningful purpose.
Said Kalua: “If you are being prosecuted on what you are challenging, then there is no purpose for which the appeal would be taken, but with the stay now we know the interests of our clients have been protected and we are happy to pursue the appeal until all issues are resolved.”
Before the application, Msukwa started judicial review proceedings in the High Court challenging the ACB’s decision but Judge Redson Kapindu dismissed the judicial review action.
On May 30 2022, Kapindu dismissed an application by Msukwa and Nair that ACB violated their constitutional rights in effecting their arrests last December.