Former transport and communications minister William Harrington has launched a scathing attack against Vice-President Guy Scott for celebrating the purported clearance of former tourism and arts minister Sylvia Masebo who has been found guilty in all but one allegation for which she was being investigated by the Judge RhoydaKaoma Tribunal.
Harrington who is planning to take the matter to the High Court for judicial review said that Dr Scot’s celebrations had come too soon as he was exploring other avenues that would clarify the cloudy findings of the Tribunal.
Harrington has said that Dr Scott should know that the battle of fighting for justice in Masebo’s Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) saga is far from being over as he was planning to seek court interpretation as to what amounted to pecuniary advantage,
Harrington said Dr Scott’s celebrations over the purported clearance of Masebo over allegations of breaching the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct and the gaining of pecuniary advantage were premature because he had instructed his lawyers to carefully study the report for purposes of seeking judicial review.
Harrington has described attacks against himself and Kabwata PF Member of Parliament (MP) Given Lubinda by Dr Scott as unwarranted.
Harrington said the Judge RhoydaKaoma Tribunal did not clear Masebo of the allegations of corruption and abuse of office and authority because the report had categorically found the former minister guilty on a number of allegations.
He said Dr Scott with his preferred newspaper should know that the JudgeKaomaTribunal had not cleared Masebo and that creating an impression that the former tourism and arts minister did not abuse her authority and office were a deliberate distortion of facts meant to cleanse the Chongwe MP.
He said the Tribunal had clearly stated that Masebo had breached a number of provisions of the law in her actions and deeds and could therefore not be deemed innocent.
“It is noted that the Tribunal ignored the finding of the fact that an illegal and so-called advisory committee appointed by Masebo composed of persons with interest in the Safari hunting concessions. The said advisory committee gained pecuniary advantage when they were availed with information on the bidding document by Masebo to the disadvantage of the other bidders. The Tribunal does not regard that as assisting other persons to obtain pecuniary advantage in breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act,” Harrington said.
Harrington said the terms of reference of the Tribunal were to investigate allegations that Masebo cancelled the tender for the Safari hunting concession, the action which was in breach of the Public Procurement Act.
He said the Tribunal also investigated Masebo over her action to dismiss top ZAWA officials and it was found that the former minister abused her authority when she terminated the employment contracts of the five directors.
“The Tribunal finds that Masebo had no authority under the Zambia Public Procurement Act (ZPPA) to cancel the tender for the 19 Safari hunting concession tender as she was neither the procurement entity nor the Approvals Authority as defined under section 22 (2) of the Act. The Tribunal has finds that Masebo cancelled the tender in contravention of the Act,” Harrington said.
He said what was ironically puzzling was that the Tribunal did not find evidence that Masebo was in breach of the Act when she removed from office five ZAWA directors and thereby assisted other persons to acquire pecuniary advantage through the drawing of salaries and other benefits that went with such appointments.