Masebo Tribunal stopped

The Judiciary has been ordered to immediately stop and abandon any more steps at constituting a Tribunal to investigate breaches of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act by Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo.

In accordance with the law Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda had written President Michael Sata to inform him of the impending tribunal following a complaint lodged by former Minister of Transport William Harrington.

Mr. Harrington fulfilled all requirements for a tribunal to be constituted. In his re-application submitted to the office of the Acting Chief Justice, Harrington presented a list of fourteen persons who could be subpoenaed by the tribunal for purposes of verifying print and electronic media publications.

The Acting Chief Justice had requested for further details to establish the truth and make out a prima facia case against Ms Masebo before she could appoint a tribunal. He also availed to her a DVD recording of relevant statements made by Ms Masebo at her press briefings as part of his evidence in support of his application.

The tribunal when appointed was required by law to investigate allegations of abuse of office and various breaches of the law levelled against Ms Masebo in the matter of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) hunting concession licensing tender procedure.

In her letter to Harrington in response to his earlier application for the appointment of a tribunal, the Acting Chief Justice reminded him that the matter was serious one because according to the provisions of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, Ms Masebo could lose her Chongwe seat is found guilty. The Act states that “a breach of the Parts 3 and 4 of the Act shall constitute part of the code of conduct for Members of Parliament for purposes of the Constitution, a breach of which results in the vacation of the seat of the Member concerned.”

Since then, it has been learned over-whelming evidence against Ms Masebo has been collected by various agencies.

When informed of the development Mr. Harrington said he understood and appreciated the anxiety of interested and concerned citizens over perceived delay by the Acting Chief Justice in appointing a tribunal because as the adage goes “justice delayed is justice denied”.

However this, he said, applied to all parties concerned including the dismissed top ZAWA management, the successful bidders for hunting concession licenses and indeed Ms Masebo herself who obviously needed to clear her name over the allegations levelled against her.

“ In this regard, I can assure you that I intend to make a follow-up with the office of the Acting Chief Justice early in the coming week.” He said.

Mr. Harrington said he did not subscribe to the assertion that President Sata was not aware of the provisions of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act  “because the Patriotic Front Party when in opposition was very supportive of my application to appoint a tribunal to investigate the then Minister of Communications and Transport Ms Dora Siliya over the Zamtel and International Airport sagas. “ he said.