Masebo tribunal in new twist

Following “State House” instructions for the judiciary to drop and abandon the constitution of a tribunal against tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo for breaches of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct former Transport minister William Harrington has now approached the Law Association of Zambia to advance the matter.

This follows a second letter from the Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda who has demanded for more details including affidavits from witnesses before she can institute a tribunal.  Mr. Harrington who is not a lawyer said that the new demands by the chief Justice, which include submission of witness affidavits was beyond him and hence the appeal to the association to enable him lodge a third application.  “I have met all the requirements as provided for in the Act, which only demands that a formal written complaint should be made to the Chief Justice in order to trigger the tribunal.” as was the case in the Dora Siliya matter.

The new requirements by Chief Justice were a matter which he felt the legal fraternity was best placed to deal with as they were beyond his remit as a complainant.

In her letter the Chief Justice has indicated that she expects affidavits of the various witnesses Mr. Harrington intended to subpoena in order to enable her analyze and be satisfied that a prima facie case had been established.

Mr. Harrington explained that he fulfilled all the requirements for a tribunal to be constituted but could not understand why Justice Chibesakunda demanded for such when the information could have been provided in the tribunal.

Harrington presented a list of fourteen persons who could be subpoenaed by the tribunal for the purposes of verifying print and electronic media publication.

Mr. Harrington however, insisted that he wanted the tribunal to investigate the allegation of irregularities and corruption by ZAWA management in the handling of the tender for hunting licences and investigate whether the Minister was in breach of State Security by failing and or neglecting to report to government security wings that foreign registered aircraft are violating Zambian air space to uplift wildlife species or government trophies.

He said he was sure that Ms. Masebo would also want to defend herself and give her side of the story, adding that the demand by the Chief Justice to be provided with affidavits was again a ploy to intimidate journalists from playing their role.