Chief Justice Luke Malaba has implored High Court judges to expeditiously deal with corruption cases to ensure that the matters are disposed of, adding its reputation “depends entirely on how these cases are disposed of”.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Justice Malaba made the remarks while addressing journalists at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday after the swearing-in of two Supreme Court judges – Justices Charles Hungwe and Nicholas Mathonsi. This brings the total number of the judges of the apex court to 15.
The number is inclusive of the Chief Justice and his deputy, Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza.
“The reputation of the system depends entirely on how these cases are disposed of. If we delay cases, dispositions we are bringing the system into disrepute. We (JSC) are very clear, the judges are very clear, everybody is very clear that these cases have to be disposed of,” Justice Malaba said.
“These cases are coming from anti-corruption courts going to the High Court so the solution is not to create another anti-corruption court at the High Court. The solution is to ensure that those cases that come from the anti-corruption courts are disposed of as quickly as reasonably practicable by the High Court.”
Responding to questions on why corruption cases were not being disposed of as expected, Justice Malaba said it was a cause for concern for the JSC that the public had generated a perception that there were some delays.
“We understand the basis for that perception. But what has happened is that these are cases of people (accused persons) who have seen in their own interest to invoke the remedies provided (for) by the law,” Justice Malaba said.
“It is the right of any person who appears in a court to take advantages of the available remedies. Those remedies are there for protecting the person that is why the right is provided for specifically to ensure that which it provides for takes place. So there is nothing wrong in people taking advantage of a remedy that is constitutionally or legally provided (for).”
However, Justice Malaba said it would not be in the interest of the Constitution for suspects to seek to delay a matter for personal gain.
Justice Mathonsi said he was excited to have finally made it to the Supreme Court.
“I am really excited and I am over the moon actually because it has finally happened. Like I said, this has happened after three attempts, you get the feeling that you have arrived,” he said.
His counterpart Justice Charles Hungwe was equally ecstatic saying: “I am actually happy with this achievement, this is what every judge at the High Court aspires to do and I am also ready to meet the challenge.”