THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has authorized private lawyers, Makebi Zulu, Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri to take over the prosecution of Mpongwe member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo who was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for abuse of authority of office.
Ms Mesebo who is former Tourism and Arts Minister was fired by late president Michael Sata soon after the tribunal constituted to investigate her misconduct and breach of the Parliamentary code of conduct found her culpable of abusing her office.
The three private lawyers were the ones who prosecuted Ms Masebo when she was appearing before the Judge Rhoyda Kaoma Tribunal which ruled that the former Tourism and Arts Minister did not have the authority to cancel the 19 Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) hunting concessions tender.
The tribunal however found that the breaches although against law and procedure did not establish whether she had received pecuniary advantage as required by the statutes under which she was brought to the tribunal
The Judge Kaoma Tribunal sitting with High Court Judge Chalwe Muchenga, and Livingstone High Court Judge Ernest Mukulamutiyo ruled that Ms Masebo as Minister of Tourism and Arts at the time breached the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Act.
The tribunal also found Ms Masebo wanting over her action when she unilaterally terminated the contracts of ZAWA directors that included Edwin Matokwani who was the authority’s director at the time, Melody Zeko, Taulino Banda, Rose Chivumba and Andrew Sampa. On Wednesday, acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lilian Shawa Siyuni granted Mr Zulu of Makebi Zulu Associates, Mr Mweemba of Keith Mweemba and Associates and Gilbert Phiri of PNP Advocates consent to join the prosecution of Ms Masebo.
Former transport and communications minister William Harrington who raised the original complaint last month applied to the National Prosecution Authority requesting that Ms Masebo should be co-prosecuted by private lawyers but Chief State Advocate Rosemary Nkonde Khuzwayo informed Mr Harrington that the matter should be solely be handled by private prosecutors as opposed to co-prosecution.
In the tribunal findings, Judge Kaoma said that Ms Masebo had neither authority to cancel the ZAWA hunting concession tender as she was neither the procurement entity nor the approvals authority as defined under Section 22 (2) of the Public Procurement Act.
“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 Ms 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, the tribunal ruled at the time.
Mr. Harrington has since challenged the tribunal finding which cleared Ms Masebo on the charge of obtaining pecuniary advantage.