Friday, February 20, 2009

Mambilima to set up tribunal for Dora

Mambilima to set up tribunal for Dora
Written by Agness Changala, Mutale Kapekele and Patson Chilemba
Friday, February 20, 2009 6:37:20 PM

ACTING Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima is to set up a tribunal to investigate communications and transport minister Dora Siliya's alleged abuse of office.

In an interview yesterday, Registrar of the High Court and Director of Court Operations Mwamba Chanda disclosed that justice Mambilima had written to President Rupiah Banda and Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa over the tribunal to be set up.

"Since we received the petitions and I have also seen in your paper, what I have to say is that the acting Chief Justice Mambilima has written to the President and Speaker to notify them of the same tribunal to be set," she said.

Chanda said everything was being put in place in accordance with the provision of the Act of Section 15 of the parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct.

"The provision of the Act of Section 15 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct states that any fees and remunerations or expenses payable in respect of tribunal under this Act shall be paid out of money appropriated by that purpose," Chanda said.

She said with this Act in place, they were also consulting Ministry of Finance and National Planning to assist with logistics and other expenses required.

Asked when exactly the tribunal would be set up, Chanda said they would inform the nation as soon as they finalised with the logistics.

"Very soon it will be set up because we have done quite a number of things and I am sure by next week, we will have some information for you," Chanda said.

On Wednesday, ten civil society organisations presented a petition to Justice Mambilima at the Supreme Court to set up a tribunal to probe alleged abuse of office involving Siliya.

The organisations presented their petition over Siliya's engagement of RP Capital Partners of Cayman Island to value Zamtel at a contract sum of US$2 million [about K10.3 billion] with total disregard of advice from the Attorney General's office; the overruling of Zambia National Tender Board and cancelling a duly awarded contract for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of a Zambia Air Traffic Management Surveillance Radar System (ZATM-RADAR) at Lusaka and Livingstone international airports and her alleged claim of a K12.5 million refund from Petauke District Council Committee for two hand pumps for two boreholes in one of the wards called Nyika, when in fact the hand pumps were procured at K5 million.

On Monday, former communications minister William Harrington petitioned the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal to investigate Siliya for allegedly breaching the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act.

And Harrington confirmed receipt of a letter from Justice Mambilima over the petition he presented before her to set up a tribunal to probe Siliya's alleged abuse of office.

Harrington said he was thankful that Justice Mambilima had discharged her duties honourably and with respect to the Constitution of Zambia and the relevant law.

"So with this development it is my sincere hope and prayer that no one will find a need to express himself or themselves at any fora or through any fora or media and they should patiently wait for the appointment of a tribunal by the Honourable Chief Justice to which they should now make their submissions and produce their evidences," Harrington said.

Justice Mambilima in her response to Harrington's letter stated: "I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 16th February, 2009. I have written to notify His Excellency the President and the Hon. Mr Speaker, of my intention to appoint a tribunal to probe allegations brought out in your letter of complaint. This will be done as soon as logistics are in place and the members selected."

And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu welcomed the plans to set up a tribunal, saying the body would help Siliya to clear her name.

Lungu said the tribunal would also accord an opportunity for the country to use its laws.

"This is an opportunity for our Honourable minister [Siliya] to clear her name," he said. "This will also make our leaders to account for their actions."

Lungu also appealed to those who would make submissions to the tribunal to be truthful.

"We don't want wrong things to be promulgated at the tribunal," Lungu said. "We should all stick to the truth and present the facts as they are for justice to prevail."

And Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said Justice Mambilima had no option but to set up a tribunal to probe corruption allegations involving Siliya.

Sata said no manoeuvres aimed at stopping the establishment of the tribunal by anyone including President Banda and his friends would work.

"Whatever they try to do, the law does not give the Chief Justice any discretion. So whatsoever [Vice-President George] Kunda can do, the law is very clear. Therefore the Chief Justice has no option unless she wants her name to be brought into ridicule," Sata said.

"On my petition case she can have a choice but on this one she has no choice. Whoever is there, whether [Chief Justice Ernest] Sakala or [deputy Chief Justice Irene] Mambilima, that doesn't give them any discretion."ata further said the tribunal, which would be set up should be impartial both in name and deed.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home