Thursday, November 03, 2011

Dora wasn't involved in Zamtel sale - Sikota

Dora wasn't involved in Zamtel sale - Sikota
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sun 30 Oct. 2011, 20:50 CAT

DORA Siliya's name continues to be linked to the allegedly corrupt sale of Zamtel to Libya's LAP Green despite many legal proceedings, complains her lawyer Sakwiba Sikota.

Sikota, who spoke on behalf of Siliya when she was summoned to appear before the commission of inquiry probing the sale of Zamtel, NAPSA's procurement of land from Meanwood and NAPSA's US $98 million investment in ZNBS's Society House, said Siliya was not involved in the transaction.

"There has been a tribunal, there has been a court case, there has been other cases going right up to the Supreme Court. It seems like a never ending story. Let's hope this is the final chapter," Sikota said.

He said Siliya had not missed an opportunity to clear her name of wrongdoing in the controversial US $257 million transaction.

"Everything she has to say is in the records which were before the courts. There is nothing more she can add to what was stated in the court actions," he said.

Asked by The Post if Siliya acted above board in the controversial transactions, Sikota said: "That is what the court said. The court vindicated her right up to the Supreme Court."

Siliya, who together with Henry Banda, son of former president Rupiah Banda, were key architects in single-sourcing RP Capital of the Cayman Islands to valuate Zamtel for the planned privatisation process.

Siliya and Henry single-sourced RP capital for a US $2.5 million fee, and later retained RP capital as transaction advisors for a five per cent fee for the total selling price of Zamtel.

Siliya committed Zambian public money without the consent of the Attorney General's chambers.

The controversial transaction saw Siliya hauled before the Dennis Chirwa-led tribunal by a consortium of 10 civil society organisations led by the Zambian chapter of Transparency International, together with former transport minister William Harrington.

Earlier, Siliya who arrived at 14:28 at the hearing on Friday, immaculately dressed in a flash red outfit in the company of Sikota and ushered into the room of proceedings amidst the glare of cameras, declined to comment on the allegations made against her by some witnesses.

"Our firm instruction is that our client will not comment on the allegations made by Transparency International Zambia…there is nothing new that Transparency International Zambia has presented to this committee which was not brought to the Tribunal's attention," Sikota said.

Sikota said Siliya was not in fact involved in selling Zamtel because she was not Minister of Transport and Communication at the time the Zamtel sale was finalised.

Sikota said "I will insist on exercising her constitutional rights as guaranteed by the provisions of Article 18 of the Constitution of Zambia chapter one volume one of the Laws of Zambia."

But solicitor general Mubanga Kondolo advised Sikota that the inquiry was not called to investigate or incriminate Siliya.

He said there had been a lot aspersions cast on Siliya and the committee thought it was important to give her an opportunity to come and clarify.

"I would just want to clarify that these are not criminal proceedings, not judicial proceedings of any kind," Kondolo said. "This committee is not making any ruling. It's just purely an information-gathering exercise.

A number of people have been here and made submissions on the sale, not just relating to the sale but to the procurement of the transaction advisor right through to the entire spectrum of the process of sale.

It's purely an exercise for her self-preservation to help concretise her position in this situation as you have seen from the public outcry that you referred to.. It is her constitutional right to keep quiet."

Siliya, who refused to talk directly to journalists later left in her Toyota Landcruiser GX registration number ALC 7063 together with Sikota and a known freelance photographer.

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