CORRUPTION-accused High Court Judge Wilfred Muma appeared at the Lusaka Magistrate Court this morning, a month after a failed suicide attempt.
On the chilly night of March 1, judge Muma tossed himself in the crocodile-infested Zambezi River at Lubosi Imwiko Bridge, on the Mongu-Kalabo road, in an attempt to exit the land of the living but somehow survived the plunge.
Despite his suicide attempt and legal troubles, nothing in Judge Muma’s demeanour projected him as a troubled man this morning.
Wearing a smiley face, Judge Muma walked the corridors of the court gracefully, chatted and smiled with his lawyers while he hugged some of his sympathisers.
He is facing two counts of wilful failure to comply with the law and applicable procedure relating to the allocation and disposal of public property and abuse of authority of office.
The adjudicator is alleged to have grabbed land from the Zambia Army and issued it to the Patriotic Front in 2018 when he served as commissioner of Lands.
The land which is a portion of Chikoleka forest on Chitukuko road in Woodlands area was earmarked to be developed into a Party secretariat, conference and skilled centre
Trial could however not commence in the matter as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has asked the Lusaka High Court to order that judge, Muma be tried before it.
The State said the case presents a situation that is very rare in the criminal Justice system as the accused is a sitting judge of the High Court currently based in Mongu.
According to an affidavit in support of notice of originating notice of motion sworn on behalf of Gilbert Phiri by Muyangwa Sitali, the State said Judge Muma is expected to continue performing his functions even when he is appearing in the Subordinate Court, which he has supervisory authority over.
“This scenario presents a situation which is susceptible to serious imputations as regards to the trial court which is inferior to the High Court,”submitted the State.
When the matter came up for commencement of trial before magistrate Trevor Kasanda, state advocate Margaret Chitundu, requested for an adjournment on reasons that the application made before the High Court has a substantial bearing on how the matter proceeds before the subordinate court.
Magistrate Kasanda granted the application and adjourned the matter May 30.
By Mwaka Ndawa
Kalemba April 18, 2023.