Harrington challenges justice Chibesakunda

Former Transport Minister has said that he will not submit the sworn in affidavits for his witnesses as requested by acting chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda, in regard with his application for the appointment of a tribunal to investigate Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo.

When asked for a comment, Mr Harrington said he would not be discouraged by the long procedure taken by the judiciary because he was doing it on the public interest.

He told the Daily Nation that he had indicated to the chief justice that he could not divulge his evidence by way of sworn affidavits from his witness, on the basis that such could be provided in the tribunal.

“It would be in any case be folly for me to divulge my evidence by way of sworn affidavits from my witness indicating as your honour puts it “what they are likely to say in the tribunal,” I would expect that evidence from witnesses will be adduced before the tribunal once appointed. I am aware that the tribunal is itself empowered to subpoena any person whom it may desire to testify before it was the case in the Dennis Chirwa-led tribunal,” he said in his letter.

Acting Chief Justice Chibesakunda had earlier demanded for Mr Harrington’s witnesses to provide with them sworn in affidavit for all the 14 witness.

In her letter, justice Chibesakunda indicated that she expected affidavits of the journalists Mr Harrington  intended to subpoena to be sent to her office for her to analyze and be satisfied that a prima facie case had been established.

But Mr Harrington said the demands by the Chief Justice were unnecessary because there had been no amendment to the Act to warrant such action and that he believed that a prima facia case had been established against Ms Masebo to warrant appointment of a tribunal in the public interest.

“I am aware of the provisions of the parliamentary and ministerial Code of Conduct Act Cap 16 of the laws of Zambia, the said Act having been legislated at the time I was privileged to serve in government. And it is the very same Act which I and 10 civil society organisations relied upon in the Dennis Chirwa led tribunal of 2010 expeditiously appointed by the then Chief Justice Ernest Sakala to investigate allegations leveled against the then Minister of communications and Transport in the sale of Zamtel and international Airport radar contract.”

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