Elections

 

Lawyer Mbanga Siyoumunji, who is representing the Fishrot accused, Nigel van Wyk, says his client has exhausted all avenues regarding the recusal of Judge Moses Chinhengo.

Van Wyk petitioned the Supreme Court after Judge Chinhengo declined Van Wyk's application for his recusal and subsequently denied his leave to appeal.

The matter was dismissed last week. 

However, the petition was also rejected by the appeal judges of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Mainga and Elton Hoff, and the acting judge of appeal, Theo Frank.

Siyoumunji, who spoke to nbc News, said, "There is no way forward, and once the Supreme Court has spoken, then that is it."

But his fellow accused, former Justice Minister Sacky Shangala, will continue attempts to remove Judge Chinhengo when the trial resumes on July 26. Shangala is expected to file an application, which, among others, includes the legality and constitutionality of Chinhengo's appointment.

In the application for questions of law to be recorded by Chinhengo and sent to the Supreme Court, Shanghala is also asking the judge to keep plea proceedings in their trial halted until the Supreme Court has decided the legal questions on which they say they want a ruling.

Shanghala claims Chinhengo cannot continue to preside over the Fishrot case because he was appointed as acting judge for a period of only one year, which ended in December, and according to Shangala, Chinhengo's re-appointment was not gazetted.

However, the  High Court Act states that an acting judge continues his or her term during any period when the judge is engaged in a trial.

Shanghala, in his pursuit to remove Judge Chinhengo, is joined by his former business partners, James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo.

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Emil Xamro Seibeb