President Michael Sata may not have ordered the dissolution of the Zambia Wildlife Life Authority (ZAWA) board and the dismissal of its director Edwin Matokwani along with his subordinate directors as claimed by Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo.
The President is reported to have distanced himself from claims by Masebo that he (Sata) had directed her to dissolve ZAWA board and dismiss its directors.
It has been revealed that President Sata was not amused that Masebo had dragged his name into her misconduct and that the Head of State has since demanded that the Tourism Minister should prove to him that he ordered the dissolution of the ZAWA board and the dismissal of its directors.
Efforts to get a comment from Masebo failed as her mobile phone went unanswered while a Short Messaging System (SMS) sent to her was not responded to.
President Sata’s press aide George Chellah did not answer his phone when called nor did he respond to the SMS sent to him.
Masebo, while testifying in the Judge Rhoyda Kaoma chaired Tribunal investigating her over alleged corruption and breach of the State Security Act claimed that President Sata had directed her to dissolve ZAWA board and fire its directors.But it has been revealed that President Sata did not direct Masebo to take such an action and that the Head of State was not happy that his minister had implicated him in the ZAWA scandal that led to the establishment of a Tribunal by Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.
It has been learnt that Masebo together with Vice-President Guy Scott and Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba went to President Sata and informed him that there was a lot of corruption at ZAWA and that there was need to do something about the situation.
In the meeting, President Sata is said to have advised Masebo as the Minister in-charge to do what she thought was in the best interest of the institution.
It is believed that Masebo misconstrued President Sata’s advice and went on to dissolve the ZAWA board and fired Matokwani along with Melody Zeko, Taulino Banda, Rose Chivumba and Andrew Sampa and appointed an interim management headed by Xen Vlahakis.
Former transport and communications minister William Harrington has asked the Judge Kaoma Tribunal to recommend to President Sata to fire Masebo from her ministerial position for having breached the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct.
Harrington has also submitted that the Tribunal should recommended further investigations into Masebo’s misconduct and prosecution.
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 direct the cancellation of the tender process that was above board.