Harrington challenges Malila’s injunction to block Masebo tribunal

The Lusaka High Court has been petitioned to set aside an order to stay Judge Dominic Sichinga’s judgment ordering Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to constitute a tribunal against Tourism and Arts Minister Syvia Masebo so that the tribunal could commence its sitting to probe the allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

Former Communications and Transport Minister William Harrington has asked the High Court that the tribunal should be allowed to commence its sitting to give chance to Masebo to clear herself on the allegations. 

Justice Chibesakunda had constituted a three-member tribunal that was to be chaired by Justice Royda Kaoma as chairperson with Justice E.N Mukulwmutiyo and Justice C.F Mchenga as members.

But before the tribunal could commence its sittings, High Court Judge Sichinga ordered the stay of his own judgement which had given Harrington the right to be heard over his allegations against Masebo after the Attorney General had obtained an injunction against the ruling of the Acting Chief Justice.

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

This is in the matter in which Harrington had made an application for Judicial Review on the refusal by Justice Chibesakunda to appoint a tribunal to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse of office against Masebo.

According to documents filed into the High Court on Thursday 6th December 2013 and obtained by The Daily Nation, Harrington has submitted skeleton arguments arguing that the order to block the tribunal against Masebo should be stayed because the order was incompetent and unattainable as there was nothing to stay in Judge Sichinga’s judgement. Harrington’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri argued that the Court’s Judgment of 29th October 2013 was a declaratory judgment which by its nature, merely proclaimed the existence of a legal relationship and did not contain any order to be enforced.

He stated that an order for stay pending appeal could only be granted in respect of executory judgment or order and the Court’s Judgment was not one such order.