Masebo guilty as charged

The Judge RhoydaKaoma Tribunal has found former Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo guilty in all but one of allegations leveled against her by former transport and communications minister William Harringtone but could not make recommendations because of lack of proof that she personally gained pecuniary advantage from her actions.

Judge Kaoma sitting with High Court Judge ChalweMuchenga and Livingstone High Court Judge Ernest Mukulamutiyo stated in its finding that Masebo as Minister of Tourism and Arts did not have any authority to cancel the 19 Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Safari hunting concessions tender and was therefore in breach of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Act.

The tribunal stated that Masebo was not part of the procurement entity in the ZAWA tender nor was she an approvals authority and was therefore wrong to have taken it upon herself to cancel a running tender.

The Tribunal found that although it was government’s desire that the evaluation committee should have considered the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto in awarding Safari hunting concession, it was wrong for Masebo to have directed to have the ruling party’s manifesto a criterion of the selection of the successful bidders.

Masebo, the Tribunal stated, should have followed the ZPPA Act regulation 24 before wrongly cancelling the ZAWA tender.

The Judge Kaoma Tribunal stated that although Masebo did not breach the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct, she contravened the Public Procurement Act when she cancelled the ZAWA tender.

Masebo has also been found wanting over her action to unilaterally dismiss former ZAWA director general Edwin Matokwani along with his four subordinate directors without following the authority’s disciplinary code of conduct.

The Tribunal stated that Masebo as Tourism and Arts Minister was wrong when she fired Matokwani, Melody Zeko, Taulino Banda Rose Chivumba and Andrew Sampa who were at the time directors at ZAWA without following the authority’s disciplinary code.

“We find that the minister had no authority to cancel the tender as she was neither a procurement entity nor the Approvals Authority as defined under section 22(2) of the Public Procurement Act. Although Masebo did not breach the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct, we find that she contravened the Public Procurement Act.

We further find that the minister was wrong when she relieved the five senior ZAWA officers of their duties with immediate effect. We also find that considering the PF manifesto in the selection of successful bidders was not the criterion as was demanded by the minister,” the Tribunal stated.

The Tribunal has also found Masebo guilty when she made an alarming statement that there were foreign airplanes that were allegedly violating the Zambian air space and airlifting the country’s game to some unknown destination.