Former Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo may have committed perjury for lying before a legally constituted Tribunal, that President Michael Sata had authorized her to dissolve the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) board, fire five of its directors as well as cancel the 19 Safari hunting concession tender, former Secretary to Cabinet Skechly Sachika has said.
Sachika said it was a criminal offence under the laws of Zambia for anybody to communicate falsehood to a judicial body after having sworn on the Bible to tell the truth.
He said in a statement yesterday that it was unfortunate that Masebo had decided to drag President Sata into the proceedings of the Judge Kaoma Tribunal that was investigating her alleged corruption and abuse of authority when she dissolved the ZAWA board, fired its directors and cancelled the 19 Safari hunting concession tender.
The former top civil servant said if Masebo was not going to produce written proof that she was acting on the authority of President Sata, she must be prosecuted for the offence of perjury.
Sachika said it was in the interest of good governance that President Sata considered taking disciplinary action against Masebo by firing her from her ministerial position because her actions of accusing the Head of State of being part of her misconduct amounted to gross indiscipline.
He said Masebo had deliberately used the name of the President in her defence in the Tribunal knowing fully that the Head of State could not be subpoenaed by the Tribunal to attest to her claims.
“If Masebo cannot produce written proof that she was acting on the authority of President Sata when she dissolved ZAWA board, fired its directors and cancelled the 19 Safari hunting tender, she must be prosecuted for the offence of perjury. It was really unfortunate that Masebo decided to drag President Sata into the proceedings of the Tribunal set up to probe her alleged misconduct in the ZAWA affair without offering any concrete written proof that the President had authorized her to act as she did,’ Sackika said.
He said Masebo’s claims before the Judge Kaoma Tribunal had cast aspersions on the integrity of President Sata to the extent that the Head of State was portrayed as a man who was prepared to engage in questionable activities.
Sachika said the President was sworn to protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the country and his (Sata’s) conduct was therefore expected to be above board. Sachika said President Sata should publicly distance himself from the ZAWA affair in order to protect the integrity and honour of the office of the presidency.
President Sata on thursday fired Masebo who recently was a subject to a Tribunal investigating her alleged breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct and State Security Act.
She becomes the fourth minister to be fired after Kabwata MP given Lubinda, Efron Lungu and Alfridah