Judge Blasts Chombo For Abusing Courts

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By Mary Taruvinga

HIGH Court judge Felistus Chatukuta has hit out at former minister, Ignatius Chombo accusing him of abusing court processes through filing an “application for second revival of Temporary Variation of bail Conditions”.

Chombo is facing several criminal charges relating to corruption.

His cases are still hanging before the courts nearly four years after his arrest.

The ex-minister was back at the High Court seeking the release of his passport yet again to enable him to travel to South Africa for medication.

In lieu of the passport, Chombo offers to surrender a title deed for another property registered in the name of Pomlic Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

His lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku had submitted that the court had jurisdiction because the same court once accepted jurisdiction when an order for revival of a temporary variation of his client’s bail conditions.

But Chatukuta said Madhuku’s submissions were unmeritorious, adding that she has no jurisdiction to deal with such an application.

“It is necessary to remark at the onset that this is a novel application,” said Chatukuta, adding that there could not be a first, second or third application for variation of bail conditions.

“This is simply an application for alterations for bail conditions. There is no legal basis either for the application to be referred to as sui generis. The fact that an order is sought for the second revival of temporary variation of bail conditions does not bestow on it a special status,” she said.

Chombo had referred to various provisions of the Constitution on the rights of an accused person. The constitutional provisions are of no relevance to the determination of the question jurisdiction.

The judge said this was done only to “give flavour to the otherwise unmerited submissions”.

“I therefore find it not necessary to be detained by making any reference to provisions, suffice to remark that this court is not denying the applicant his right to protection of the constitution.

“It is simply pronouncing that the application for the realisation of those rights has been made at the wrong forum.

“It is this court’s finding that this court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the application.

“The application is improperly before the court. It was ill-conceived and amounts to abuse of court processes. Applicants in general and the present applicant in particular are strongly discouraged from forum shopping and in the process abusing court process. The application is accordingly struck off the roll,” she ruled.