Solicitor General Musa Mwenye yesterday testified against his own boss, Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba in a matter where he (Kabimba) is under probe by the Judge Evans Hamaundu Tribunal for breach of oath of secrecy and abuse of office.
Mwenye told Judge Hamaundu siting with High Court Judges Gertrude Chawatama and Justice Chashi that he was not aware that Kabimba had converted the government professional legal opinion into private use until yesterday when it was made to him that his advice had been transmitted to Ellis &Co, the lawyers for the PF.
He testified that the oath of secrecy did not allow him as a public servant to release government information directly or indirectly and that he was not aware that Kabimba was going to forward his legal opinion to be used by the PF.
I would never have given the government professional legal opinion to the Patriotic Front (PF) or its secretary general Wynter Kabimba because the action had the potential to have government sued for litigation, Solicitor General Musa Mwenye has said.
Mwenye has also disclosed that he had rendered government legal opinion to Kabimba as Minister of Justice and not as secretary general of the PF.
Mwenye revealed that the PF as a private club could have gained pecuniary advantage by accessing government legal opinion because every legal advice whether from private consultants or government lawyers had a cost attached to it.
Testifying in the on-going Judge Evans Hamaundu tribunal investigating Kabimba for breach of oath of secrecy and abuse of office, Mwenye said if the Justice Minister has asked him for the legal opinion in his capacity as secretary general of the PF he would not have accepted to render such an opinion.
He said the PF was not a charitable organisation and could therefore not be given legal advice by a government or private consultant without paying for it.
“The opinion I rendered to Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba was based on the electoral malpractice case and I rendered that professional advice to the Minister and not the secretary general. I would never have rendered the legal opinion to the PF or any of its members including the secretary general. And I did not know until today that the legal opinion I rendered to Justice Minister was transmitted to the Patriotic Front lawyers, Ellis & CO. I would not have given the legal opinion to the PF or the secretary general had I known that he was going to use it for his political party,” Mwenye said.
Answering questions, Mwenye suggested that the roles of Kabimba as Justice Minister and secretary general were intertwined and therefore indistinguishable but lawyer for the petitioners Makebi Zulu demolished the argument when he put it to him that there was no position of secretary general in the government structure to which he (Mwenye) agreed.
According to Mwenye, the functions of the Justice Minister and the secretary general of the PF were interfacing and that he could not split the two functions because Kabimba was holding two positions, one in the party and the other in government.
But when asked by Zulu whether there was a position for the PF or the secretary general in the government structure, Mwenye said there had never been any such position because the PF was a private organisation although it was the party in government.