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THE certificate on which Hakainde Hichilema and five others have been committed to the High Court for trial on a charge of treason is valid, the State has told Lusaka Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba.

Responding to constitutional issues and the validity of the committal certificate raised by defence lawyers on Thursday, senior State advocate Bob Mwewa said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was established by the Republican Constitution, which gave duties, powers and qualifications of the DPP.

“The Constitution provides that the functions of the DPP may be exercised by any other person authorized by the DPP under general and specific instructions. From that power vested in the DPP, Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) Chapter 88 and Section 8(3) of the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) Act number 34 of 2010 allows the DPP to delegate her powers under the Constitution.

“This is what allows State advocates of different ranks to appear before all courts in Zambia to prosecute, plead cases and entering nolle prosequi for and on behalf of the DPP. This delegation of authority also extends to public prosecutors,” Mr. Mwewa said.

He said under Section 87 of the CPC, prosecutors had power to proceed and conclude any case before the courts of law, having been authorized by the DPP.

“Custom and practice since time immemorial shows that courts have received instructions from prosecutors and State advocates without accompanying gazettes or instructions. I myself as State advocate practise in the High Court and I have been at the Bar as a senior prosecutor. I don’t remember a time when we were asked to provide written authority to perform our functions,” he said.

On constitutional issues raised by the defence, Mr. Mwewa said they were not vexatious.

Magistrate Simusamba has reserved ruling for next Thursday and all the six accused persons have been remanded in custody.

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