SYLVIA Masebo should not blame President Edgar Lungu for her arrest by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) because President Michael Sata (late) fired her over the same allegations she is facing with the Commission, William Harrington has charged.
He said Ms Masebo allegedly committed the offences over which she had been arrested long before President Lungu was elected Head of State and she should therefore atone for her sins without dragging the name of the President into her iniquities.
Soon after Ms Masebo was arrested by the acc, she accused President Lungu of having instigated her arrest so as to silence her.
Mr Harrington, the former minister of transport and communications in the Frederick Chiluba administration, said it was a criminal offence under the Zambian statutes to unilaterally interfere with the operations of statutory bodies and cancelling tenders without following procedure.
He said it was politically incorrect for Ms Masebo to accuse President Lungu of having instigated her arrest when she was found liable by the tribunal that was constituted by former president Sata.
Mr Harrington told the Sunday Nation that the tribunal that investigated Ms Masebo over an array of allegations was clear in its findings and that its report lucidly stated that the former Minister of Tourism and Environment had breached the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) Act and the Zambia Wildlife Authority Act. Mr Harrington recalled that there was a sustained propaganda by some media house to clean Ms Masebo of her transgressions but President Sata still was not happy with her interference with the operations of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and fired her
“The fact is that the tribunal that was established by President Sata to investigate Ms Masebo made it very clear in its report that she (Masebo) breached the ZPPA Act and the ZAWA Act. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested Ms Masebo purely based on the report they have from the tribunal and it is not correct for her to be politicizing her arrest. It is unfair to blame President Lungu for the action the ACC has taken against her.
President Lungu was only elected in January, long after Ms Masebo was fired by late president Sata over the same allegations she is facing with the ACC. On this matter I will defend President Lungu and the ACC and let Ms Masebo go to court and defend her actions,” he said.
Mr Harrington said he was reluctant to comment on the arrest of Ms Masebo because a perception was created by some media house that she had not committed any crime by corruptly cancelling the hunting concessions tender.
He said he had nothing against Ms Masebo and that the ACC had for once acted professionally by studying the report of the tribunal and making the necessary steps by effecting an arrest against the former minister of tourism.Mr Harrington stated that Ms Masebo should not attempt to divert the attention of Zambians from her allegations by bringing the name of President Lungu into the problems she was facing with the ACC.
“I have nothing against Ms Masebo but she has an opportunity to defend herself in court over the allegations and I wish her the best,” he said.