Wynter ‘secrecy’ Tribunal coming

Following a public petition, a tribunal is now being constituted to hear the prima facie matter established against Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba for breaching the Oath of Secrecy of office and abuse of office.

Judicial sources told the Daily Nation yesterday that acting Chief Justice was now in the process of appointing a tribunal to hear the matter in which Kabimba passed a legal opinion from Solicitor-General Musa Mwenye to private lawyers representing a PF losing candidate who accused MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba of contempt of Supreme Court.

The sources said the legal opinion on a PF letterhead signed by Wynter Kabimba from Mwenye was sent to Ellis & Company, President Sata and the acting Chief Justice.

Last week the Supreme Court discharged Dr Mumba for including many reasons that, it was improper that the litigants could have sent a legal opinion to the acting Chief Justice a member of the bench who would have ordinarily been expected to sit and preside over the matter, thereby reinforcing the perception of court bias which Pastor Mumba was complaining about.

The petitioners will rely among other things on the Oath of Secrecy in which minister swears stating that a minister will not directly or indirectly reveal or transmit any such information or matter as shall be brought under my consideration, or shall be made known to me, by reason of my office except as may be required in the discharge of my duties as such or with the authority of the President.

They will also cite the Ministerial Code of Conduct and Anti-Corruption Act Under the ministerial code of conduct, it is wrong for a minister to knowingly acquire any significant pecuniary advantage or to assist in the acquisition of pecuniary advantage by another person by improperly using or benefitting from information which is improperly obtained in the course of his official duties and which is any pecuniary not generally available to the public advantage.

In the petition, the two petitioners Brebner Changala and Lucky Mulusa are reported to rely on Article 52 of the Constitution of Zambia which is the Parliamentary Ministerial Code of conduct Act Cap 16 of the laws of Zambia.

The Act further states that it is erroneous to disclose any official information to unauthorized person, exerting any improper influence in the appointment, promotion, disciplining or removal of a public officer.

it is also illegal to directly or indirectly convert government property for personal and any other unauthorized use, or soliciting or accepting transfer of economic benefit other than benefits of nominal value, including customary hospitality and token gifts.

“A member shall not speak in the National Assembly, or in a disclose committee thereof on a matter in which he has a direct pecuniary interest unless he had disclosed the nature of that interest to the Assembly committee,

“Where a member has an interest in a contract that is made, or is proposed to be made by the government and has not made sufficient declaration under subsection (4) in relation to the contract, the Member shall as soon as possible made a declaration of his interest in relation to the contract, specifying the nature and extent of interest,”

The two petitioners have also indicated that they will  rely onsection21 (1) b and c of the Anti-Corruption act No.3 of 2012, articles 48 and 89 of the constitution of Zambia as with section 4 and 11 of the official Oaths Act cap 5 of the laws of Zambia as read together with the Oaths in the fourth and seventh schedule of the said Act.

They will also rely on Cap 91(2) (3) of the Constitution of Zambia.