Former minister of Transport and Communications William Harrington has charged that Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo breached the Zambia Wildlife Authority (Act) when she unilaterally dissolved the board of directors and fired four of its directors at the institution.
And one of the directors who was fired by Masebo, Taulino Banda who was head of procurement at ZAWA has testified that the minister did not have the authority to interfere with procurement process by cancelling the 19 hunting concessions.Banda told the Tribunal that he was fired by Masebo and that he was not given the right to be heard and that he ol;y received the letter terminating his contract one and half months latterBanda said he had not been charged with any offence and that he only learnt of his dismissal through the media where Masebo had announced the sucking of other directors including the director general Edwin Matokwane.
He told the tribunal that the cancelled hunting concession tender had gone through the full legal process of tendering and that Masebo had abused her authority unilaterally terminating the tender.
Banda said he was shocked and surprised that his employment contract with ZAWA was terminated by the minister who was not the appointing authority.
Harrington has also charged that Masebo breached the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (Act) when she cancelled the 19 ZAWA hunting concessions when she had no authority to take such an action.
Testingfying before the Supreme Court Judge Rhoyda Kaoma Tribunal investigating Masebo over an array of allegations including the breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, Harrington said Masebo had abused her office and authority when she dissolved the ZAWA board and fired four of its directors because she did not have any authority to take such an action.
Masebo is the second cabinet Minister in President Michael Sata’s cabinet to have a Tribunal established against her after Wynter Kabimba who is the Minister of Justice who has just been cleared by the Judge Evans Hamaundu Tribunal on allegations of breach of the oath of secrecy and abuse of office when he converted government legal opinion rendered to him by Solicitor General Musa Mwenye for private use by the PF.
Harrington told the Tribunal yesterday that Masebo was in breach of the State Security Act when she made alarming statement that some foreign aircrafts were violating Zambians airspace by entering the country illegally and allegedly airlifting Zambians wild animals to some unknown destination.
He said Zambians were desperate to know the extent of abuse and corruption the PF ministers were involved in and that he had applied to the Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to constitute a Tribunal on the firm belief that Masebo had misconducted herself when she took over the role of ZAWA board and dissolved its board apart from firing its directors.
Harrington said Masebo had no role in the procurement process at ZPPA and ZAWA stating that she had abused her authority by taking over the role of procurement and that of the ZAWA board of directors by firing the workers she did not hire.
Harrington said the ZAWA Act as opposed to other Acts specific in its guidelines and that it had excluded ministers or politicians from interfering with its operations by mandating the board to be the employers of its directors.“I want to submit to this Tribunal that Masebo as Minister of Tourism and Arts has no mandate or powers to hire and fire officers from ZAWA because that was the responsibility of the board of directors. I also wish to submit that her action of cancelling the 19 ZAWA hunting concessions was illegal as it was not in her mandate to do so. The Minister also breached the State Security Act when she announced through the media and other unauthorized persons that some foreign aircraft were violating Zambia’s air space and were allegedly airlifting the country’s wild animals,” Harrington said.Harrington charged that Masebo unilaterally allowed ZAWA officers to engage in poaching when she ordered the hunting and killing of animals without the provision of a special licence.He further said Masebo gained pecuniary advantage when she caused the appointment of new directors who were entitled to monthly salaries and other emoluments that go with such appointments.