Former Minister of Tourism Sylvia Masebo has sued William Harrington to recover monies she claims she spent during a tribunal set up to investigate her.
But the truth is that Masebo did not use her money to defend herself. In fact she abused public resources on a matter that affected her personally. Zawa was ordered to pay. See the receipts and other documents below:
Masebo together with Mr. Yousuf Zumla of Eastern Safaris used the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) money to bring witnesses to testify in her defense. The tribunal was not probing ZAWA or any government entity. This means that Masebo was supposed to use her own money. She used tax-payers money to bring and lodge her witnesses at one of the most expensive lodges. Ndozo Lodge in Chilanga.
But Masebo is now trying to recover money which she did not spend.
Mr Harrington had petitioned acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to appoint a tribunal to probe Ms Masebo’s alleged misconduct.
In her writ of summons filed in the Lusaka High Court yesterday, Masebo argued that Mr Harrington had no interest in the matter he petitioned the acting Chief Justice over.
She said Mr Harrington’s allegations were based on newspaper publications, adding that he was aware that he had no evidence to prove a case of breach of the provisions of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act as he knew from the beginning that the allegations levelled against her fell outside the scope of the Act.
Ms Masebo, who is also PF Chongwe Member of Parliament (MP), said Mr Harrington knew that issuing the allegations fell within matters that could be investigated under the Code of Conduct, and he had no evidence to prove that Ms Masebo gained pecuniary advantage which is a pre-requisite for any complaint to be made under part two of the Act.
She further claims that she was subjected to lengthy, tedious and humiliating proceedings before the tribunal based on a complaint lodged by Mr Harrington in the full knowledge that the complaint of the breach of the code of conduct did not meet the threshold under the said Act.
Ms Masebo said Mr Harrington was also aware that a case could not be found against her on some of the allegations levelled as he previously made similar allegations against another minister, which also failed as both the High and Supreme courts ruled that such allegations could not be the basis of a complaint under the said Act.
She said as a result, her reputation has been put into ridicule, odium and disrepute and that she has been put to considerable expense in defending the allegations.
Ms Masebo is demanding costs of legal bills to three legal firms that were defending her during the tribunal sittings, transport costs of witnesses to and from Lusaka, and upkeep of witnesses while in Lusaka.
She is also demanding costs for accommodation and other facilities to facilitate her preparation of the defence.
Ms Masebo is further demanding damage for malicious institution of civil proceedings, interest at current bank lending rate, special damages, costs and any other relief that the court may deem fit.
She said she has been harmed and that she has suffered mental anguish, adding that during the two-week tribunal sittings, she was prevented from attending to her official business.
Ms Masebo said during the tribunal sittings, she also suffered loss and damages.
The Kaoma report found that Ms Masebo did not breach the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct.
The tribunal said this is because there was no evidence to show that Ms Masebo obtained pecuniary advantage in the manner she conducted herself over Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) operations.
The report also states that much as Ms Masebo had no powers to fire ZAWA officers, her decision to dismiss them did not in any way make her acquire pecuniary advantage.
She is represented in the matter by Simeza, Sangwa and Associates, Mulenga Mundashi and Company and Elis and Company.