Harrington wants Masebo findings quashed

FORMER Transport and Communications Minister William Harrington has demanded that the decision by the Judge Roydah Kaoma Tribunal that cleared former Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo of abuse of authority and office and gaining pecuniary advantage when she unilaterally fired five senior ZambiaWildlife Authority (ZAWA) directors should be quashed.

The Judge Kaoma Tribunal that investigated Ms Masebo over abuse of office and authority and breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial code of conduct ruled that while it was proved that the former minister fired five ZAWAdirectors; she (Masebo) did not gain pecuniary advantage.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has commenced investigations against Ms Masebo for cancelling the19 hunting concession awarded by ZAWA and that the investigations have since reached an advanced stage and were nearing conclusion.

The ACC is also investigating Ms Masebo for having caused ZAWA to pay for transport, lodging and food for the traditional leaders and other people who were her witnesses and that the probe had been concluded and evidence was being analysed.

Mr Harrington has stated in his affidavit in opposition of notice of intention to raise a preliminary issue that it was not correct that he was seeking to reverse the decision of the tribunal but that his demand was that that the decision to clear Ms Masebo should be quashed.

He said it was injudicious to argue that the decision of the Judge Kaoma Tribunal was not amenable to judicial review procedure.

Mr Harrington stated that the correct position was that a Tribunal was an administrative body that was susceptible to the appropriate orders of the court.

Mr Harrington cited the case of William Harrington vs Dora Siliya judgment number 14 of 2011 saying that the ruling ended up in the Supreme Court where a judicial review was allowed.

He stated that the Supreme Court in 2011 overturned the decision of the Judge Dennis Chirwa Tribunal that had cleared Ms Siliya of abuse of office and authority.

He argued that by asking for a judicial review of the Judge RoydaKaoma Tribunal’s decision, he was not in any way seeking to change the decision of the tribunal but that his desire was to have it quashed as the High Court had the requisite jurisdiction to determine the matter.

Mr Harrington said it was incorrect for the State to suggest that his application was misconceived but rather it was the State whose application was frivolous to the extent of which the court should consider dismissing it.

But the State had argued that it believed that the Judge Kaoma Tribunal that was instituted to investigate Ms Masebo was investigative rather than adjudicative and not amenable to judicial review procedure.

According to the Procurement Act No 12 of 2008, a person commits an offence when contrary to the provision of the Act interferes with or exerts undue influence on any officer or employee of the authority or a procuring entity in the performance of their functions or in the exercise of their power under the same act.  

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