Pay K5 million or lose seats, Kambwili, Nkombo told
ROAN and Mazabuka Central members of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili and Garry Nkombo, respectively, risk losing their seats through bankruptcy proceedings if they fail to pay the K5, 000,000 in costs the High Court awarded against them. On May 24, 2018, Lusaka High Court Judge Annesie Bobo -Banda awarded the costs against the two MPs after dismissing their application to join the case in which two citizens Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga applied for judicial review of the alleged decision by Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to table the impeachment motion against President Lungu in Parliament. Later, Mr. Chabinga and Mr. Mulenga’s lawyers Lewis and Nathan Advocates pegged and demanded their costs at a collective token of K5, 000,000. According to a letter of demand dated October 26, 2018 issued by the law firm and addressed to Mr. Nkombo and Mr. Kambwili’s lawyers, the two MPs have failed or neglected to settle the amount. “We now remind your clients to settle the said amount within 48 hours from the date hereof failure to which we shall, without any further notice, institute bankruptcy proceedings against the said Hon. Kambwili MP and Hon. Nkombo MP, and in which case, upon bankruptcy order, their parliamentary seats shall be lost and declared vacant by the Speaker of the National Assembly without any further eligibility for re-election,” the letter read in part. Meanwhile, Patriotic Front (PF) media director Sunday Chanda says Mr Kambwili is scared and shaking right now because his Roan Constituency seat may be declared vacant notwithstanding an appeal pending before the Court of Appeal. Mr Chanda said that Article 72 of the Constitution made provision for the vacation of office as Member of Parliament if expelled from the political party which sponsored the member for election to the National Assembly. He told the Daily Nation that if the expulsion was challenged in the Courts of Law but unsuccessful, the Constitution required that the member's seat fall vacant as was the case with Mr Kambwili. Mr Chanda reiterated that Mr Kambwili was scared and shaking wherever he was as an appeal does not automatically operate as a stay on the seat falling vacant. “That the member whose expulsion challenge was unsuccessful appeals against that decision is not an automatic bar on the expelled member's seat falling vacant. This so because the Constitution does not make provision for an appeal to automatically operate as a stay on the seat falling vacant following an unsuccessful expulsion challenge,” he said. Mr Chanda pointed out that Mr Kambwili’s situation was unlike an appeal against the nullification of a seat following an election petition in which a member retained the seat pending determination of an appeal. “An analogy may be drawn from honorable Keith Mukata's case. Once the High Court convicted and sentenced Mr Mukata, Article 70 (2) (f) which makes provision for the disqualification of MPs serving a sentence of imprisonment was triggered. In terms of Article 72 (2) (b), Mr Mukata's seat fell vacant as a result of his disqualification,” he said. Mr Chanda pointed out that even if the former Chilanga MP appealed against his conviction to the Court of Appeal that could not operate as an automatic stay on his seat falling vacant.