Masebo must go

Pressure is mounting on Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo to step down after a separate team set up to investigate her conduct in the manner she cancelled the 19 Zambia Wildlife Authority hunting concessions have revealed abuse of office and  corruption on her part.

According to officials from the office of the President, Ms. Masebo’s allegations of corruption and abuse of office could be proved if a tribunal was established against her.

“The independent report we have undertaken so far shows that there were high levels of corruption and total abuse of office in the manner she handled the matter. She did not follow procedure, she was not mandated to act in the manner she did,” said the officials.

The officials said that the independent report would be made available to the President in the next few weeks, adding that Zambians should support and rally behind people who were demanding for the acting chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda to establish a tribunal against Ms. Masebo.

According to the official, ACC had failed to direct the investigations because of many interested parties in the matter whose motives were aimed at protecting some named senior individuals in the PF government.

The official observed that ZAWA prepared a bid document which was advertised in the papers and over 80 hunting companies tendered but later without proper reason, the tenders were cancelled.

“The bid document was cancelled by ZAWA with instructions from the Ministry of Tourism. This followed a safari hunting consultative meeting with stakeholders at Sandy’s Creation last September. The meeting was chaired by Hon Silvia Masebo.

The official said that there were interest groups in the manner the minister wanted the bids done depending on class of people, a criteria which was not supported by law and the authority itself.

The officials, the minister wanted the bids evaluated days before it was announced according to specific groups, class of people, criteria which was not supported by law and the authority itself.

“Bidders were divided into three camps; one camp was for the white community which was supported by some senior government officials who are also in the board.  The second camp was for Indians who had no political connections and found it difficult to access or secure hunting blocks because their main challengers the whites were being supported by a political office,” said the official.

The official said that the third camp was for indigenous Zambians who had silent support from locals but had a challenge knowing that political offices draw the line for the concessions to benefit their friends and associates in the hunting business.

The official said that further evidence could only be made available if the tribunal was established to investigate the corruption allegations in the management of ZAWA by the Minister.

The Lusaka High Court has set 20th August 2013 as date for judicial review in a matter where petitioner for the Tribunal William Harrington is requesting High Court to review the decision by acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda’s refusal to constitute a tribunal to investigate Ms. Masebo.