Tribunal against Masebo set up, stayed

The Tribunal to probe Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo on allegation of breaching the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act may not take off as reports suggest government has obtained an ex parte injunction to stop the tribunal from commencing.

Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda has named a three member tribunal to headed by Justice Royda Kaoma as chairperson while Justice E.N Mukulwmutiyo and Justice C.F Mchenga would be the members.

In a letter to former minister of Tourism William Harrington dated November 15th 2013, Justice Chibesakunda said she had appointed the tribunal under the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.

But the tribunal will not start sitting following High Court judge Dominic Sichinga’s order to stay his own judgement which gave Harrington the right to be heard over his allegations against Masebo.

Justice Sichinga in an ex parte order delivered on November 15, 2013 said that the judgement he delivered on October 29, 2013 permitting Harrington to proceed with the tribunal be stayed pending determination of the appeal in the Supreme

Justice Chibesakunda said in her letter to Harrington that the purpose of her setting the tribunal against Masebo was to consider the complaints against the Tourism Minister who has been accused of corruption in the awarding of hunting concession tenders.

Last month Judge Sichinga ruled that the Acting Chief Justice erred in denying Harrington’s petition for the tribunal because all she needed was to receive the petition.

Harrington wants Masebo investigated under the Parliamentary Code of Conduct on how she has been handling issues at the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA).

“This serves to inform you that I have appointed a Tribunal under the Parliamentary and Ministrial Code of Conduct Act for the purposes of considering your complaints against Masebo who is the Minister of Tourism and Arts,” Justice Chibesakunda said.

And Harrington has described the setting up of the Tribunal against Masebo as a progressive development which was in the interest of the public.

Harrington said Masebo should take advantage of the Tribunal to clear her name on the allegations of corruption in the manner she handled the dissolution of the ZAWA board and the awarding of the hunting concessions.

The former minister of tourism in the MMD government has thanked Justice Chibesakunda for having been magnanimous in constituting the Tribunal that would give Masebo an opportunity to exonerate herself from the transgressions she has been accused of.

He said although the Tribunal had been belatedly constituted, it was important that Masebo should tell the nation whether she did not breach the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act by unilaterally dissolving the ZAWA board.