Nchito warrant of arrest quashed
Published On February 12, 2015 » 2531 Views» By Administrator Times » HOME SLIDE SHOW, SHOWCASE
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THE Lusaka High Court has quashed the warrant of arrest issued by the Chongwe magistrates’ court to have Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito arrested for various offences.
Mr Nchito was yesterday briefly detained and scheduled to appear before court following a complaint by former Finance deputy minister Newton Nguni involving nine counts of criminal conduct, abuse of authority and uttering a false document.
But Mr Justice Mwila Chitabo in his ruling quashed magistrate Mutumba Phiri’s decision because he had no jurisdiction to issue the warrant of arrest.
Mr Justice Chitabo said the purported warrant of arrest was null and void and was of no legal effect.
He invoked the provisions of 338 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and set aside the warrant of arrest issued by Mr Phiri.
Mr Justice Chitabo said in his ruling that he had looked at the file and was satisfied that Mr Nchito was an ordinary resident in Lusaka and the alleged offences complained of by Mr Nguni were allegedly committed in Lusaka.
The Chongwe magistrates’ court had no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint contrary to the provisions of Sections 11 of the CPC.
Mr Nchito had sought leave for judicial review challenging the Chongwe magistrate’s decision to issue a warrant of arrest against him, saying it did not contain a statement of the offence he was alleged to have committed.
He said the warrant of arrest did not have a signature of a magistrate with jurisdiction in Lusaka and that as far as he was concerned there was no complaint or charge preceding the arrest warrant.
Mr Nchito wanted the Lusaka High Court to quash the warrant of arrest and declare that it was unlawful as it contravened Sections 100, 102 and 111 (1) and (2) of the Act.
He wanted a prohibition to restrain the magistrates’ court from interfering with him and order for damages against the respondent for his misfeasance in public office.
Mr Nguni lodged a complaint against Mr Nchito to the Lusaka magistrates’ court which was assigned to principal magistrate Aridah Chulu on February 6, 2015 but she recused herself.
The case was re-assigned to principal magistrate Kenneth Mulife on February 9, 2015 and it came up on February 11, 2015 but Mr Nchito was not before court.
Mr Gilbert Phiri of Messrs PNP Advocates said he was informed that Mr Nguni later withdrew the complaint before the actual date of the ruling and proceeded to Chongwe where he filed a similar complaint before Mr Phiri who issued a warrant of arrest for Mr Nchito.
He further said that Mr Nchima Nchito visited him around midnight to present an application for leave for judicial review which he granted yesterday morning.
Earlier in the day, Mr Nchito was arrested around 11:30 hours from his Kabulonga residence in Lusaka and remanded in police custody.
Police spokesperson Charity Mung’anga Chanda said police were executing a warrant of arrest of the DDP from the Chongwe magistrates’ court for nine offences.
All the offences are alleged to have been committed by Mr Nchito between January 2008 and August 2013 prior and during to his stay in office as the DPP.

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