ConCourt has no authority to revisit ministers’ judgment, submits LAZ

ConCourt has no authority to revisit ministers’ judgment, submits LAZ.

THE Law Association of Zambia on Tuesday told the Constitutional Court that it has no authority to re-open and review its judgment in which ministers were ordered to pay back salaries and other emoluments they received after dissolution of the National Assembly in May.

In this matter, LAZ and the UPND sued former justice minister Ngosa Simbyakula and 63 others for illegally serving in the government after Parliament was dissolved.

The ConCourt on August 8, three days before the general elections, ordered ministers to pay back and vacate their positions immediately.

But the ministers, through Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, applied to re-open and review the judgment, and vacate the portion where it directed that they refund the emoluments they received illegally.

During hearing on Tuesday, lawyer John Sangwa argued that Kalaluka’s application lacked merit and had no constitutional foundation.

“The Constitutional Court has no authority to reopen the case. This application lacks merit and has no constitutional foundation,” Sangwa said.

He said reopening a case just because somebody was unhappy with a portion would be setting a bad precedence.
Sangwa said if the court did that, then the Constitution would also have to be changed.

And Sangwa said Kalaluka was acting in breach of the Constitution by acting on behalf of individuals.

He added that following the judgment ordering ministers to pay back the money, Kalaluka ought to be in the forefront to demand for payment and not stand in the way.

Sangwa said Kalaluka was bound to operate within the confines of the Constitution.

Another lawyer, Keith Mweemba, urged the court to dismiss the application because it was incompetent.

Meanwhile, Kalaluka said as Attorney General, it was not his role to get money from the State at all costs.

He said he was duty bound to bring principles of law to the attention of the court if he felt such action could compel the court to make a decision to enhance or uphold the Constitution of Zambia.

“As Attorney General, where I feel, whether right or wrong, justice may not have been done, I am entitled to come to court and that’s why I have come to court,” Kalaluka said.

He urged the ConCourt to review its decision in line with what happened in the presidential petition where it earlier ruled that the petition would be heard and later changed because the period had elapsed.

Kalaluka added that the application was not on behalf of ministers but his own as a first respondent.