ACC must investigate Masebo-Harrington

Former transport and communications minister William Harrington has written to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) demanding that former Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo should be investigated for allegedly influencing the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) to spend a whopping K42, 499, 80 on her witnesses when she appeared before the Judge Rhoyda Kaoma led Tribunal.

Harrington said the Judge Kaoma Tribunal was established to investigate Masebo’s misconduct in her personal capacity and that it was wrong for her to have gained pecuniary advantage by allowing ZAWA to finance her expenses through her witnesses.

When contacted for a comment, ZAWA acting director general Xenophon Vlahakis said he was unable to comment on the matter because he was in a meeting and promised to call back.

A second call did not yield any result as Vlahakis terminated the call before switching off his mobile phone.

Harrington said following revelations by the Daily Nation yesterday that ZAWA, the institution she claimed was highly indebted because of alleged rampant corruption, had spent K42, 499, 80 on the transportation, upkeep and accommodation of three chiefs and their retainers, it was only proper that ACC should immediately commence corruption and abuse of authority investigations against Masebo.

Harrington in a letter to ACC director general Rosewin Wandi and copied to President Michael Sata said Masebo should have used her personal money to transport, accommodate and feed her witnesses in defending herself.

The former transport and communications minister said he was shocked that Masebo had accepted that ZAWA should finance her defence stating that it was totally unacceptable for her to have abused her authority to defraud an institution she purported to have been protecting.

Harrington said he had written to Masebo and President Sata asking for her resignation while the tribunal was going on because he was worried that the former minister would be tempted to abuse her authority and intimidate witnesses some of whom were serving in government and at ZAWA.

“Reference is therefore made to today’s (yesterday) news article in the Daily Nation captioned ‘New ZAWA scandal exposed’. I have also been availed copies of the internal memo dated 26 February 2014, a procurement requisition number 2202 dated 27th February 2014 as well as Invoice issued by Ndozo Lodge in the sum of K42, 499 80 to ZAWA. The Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda convened the Tribunal to investigate Masebo in her personal capacity and she should have used her personal resources to defend herself. In view of the seriousness of the allegations, I deem it necessary and expedient to request your organisation to investigate the case as a matter of extreme urgency,” Harrington said.