Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo must not only be dismissed from her ministerial position but must also face prosecution for having breached the constitution in her misconduct when she cancelled the 19 Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Safari hunting concessions and fired its directors.
Former transport and communications minister William Harrington has asked the Judge Rhoyda Kaoma led Tribunal to recommend to President Michael Sata the dismissal of Masebo for having breached the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct and abused her authority.
Harrington has also asked the Judge Kaoma Tribunal to recommend the unconditional reinstatement of former ZAWA director general Edwin Matokwani together with his subordinate directors, Melody Zeko, Rose Chivumba, Taulino Banda and Andrew Sampa who were unilaterally fired by Masebo without being given an opportunity to be heard.
Harrington said Masebo breached the law when she relieved ZAWA directors of their duties as she was not the appointing authority submitting that the Minister did not have any powers or authority by express or by necessary implication to fire ZAWA’s senior management officials.
In his submissions through his lawyers Keith Mwemba, Makebi Zulu, Gilbert Phiri and Jonas Zimba to the Tribunal, Harrington appealed that it should be recommended that Masebo must also lose her Parliamentary seat for her misconduct.
He pleaded to the Tribunal to recommend further investigations and prosecution against Masebo by relevant investigative arms such as the Ant-Corruption Commission under section 75 of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority Act.
Harrington said it had been proved that there was no corruption in the tendering of the 19 ZAWA Safari hunting concessions as the ACC had exonerated the former ZAWA directors and therefore Masebo had no lawful justification for cancelling or directing the cancellation of the tender process.
He said it was not in dispute that Masebo in her capacity as Minister of Tourism and Arts caused the cancellation adding the Minister had confessed before the Tribunal in her testimony that she had interfered with the procurement process at ZAWA as well as its daily administrative operations.
He submitted that Masebo’s actions amounted to interference with the ZAWA tender process and that her misconduct was a breach of the constitution and other laws. “In view of the forgoing submissions, we urge the members of the Tribunal to accordingly recommend to President Sata that Masebo be removed from her ministerial position and indeed vacate her parliamentary seat. We further pray that the Tribunal should also recommend for further investigations of this matter by relevant investigative arms of government such as the ACC and her prosecution. May the Tribunal consider making a recommendation for an investigation and possible prosecution under any other relevant laws such as the Penal Code, Defence Act and State Security Act because her actions were in breach of the constitution,” Harrington submitted.
He said it was his prayer that the Tribunal would consider reinstating the list of successful bidders for the Safari hunting concessions and its publication because it had been proved that the cancellation of the 19 ZAWA Safari hunting concessions was null and void.
Harrington said it was not in dispute that Masebo breached the State Security Act when she failed to observe the cabinet handbook when she made an alarming statement that foreign aircrafts were violating Zambia’s air space and were allegedly airlifting the country’s wildlife to some unknown foreign destination.
He submitted that Masebo had neglected to consult the then Minister of Defence Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba before making a public statement that bordered on the security of the country.
The Judge Kaoma Tribunal sitting with High Court Judge Chalwe Muchenga and Livingstone High Court Ernest Mukulamutiyo concluded its investigations last week and is expected to hand over its recommendations to President Sata and the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini soon after concluding its report.