The Lusaka High Court has ruled that Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda should set up a tribunal to investigate Tourism and Arts Minister Silvia Masebo over misconduct on how she has been handling issues at the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA).
Delivering judgement this afternoon, Lusaka High Court Judge Dominic Sichinga ruled that the action by Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda was Ultra Vires or beyond her powers.
In 2012, Masebo cancelled the safari tenders, dissolved the Zambia Wildlife Authority board, fired five top ZAWA officers as well as cancelled the lion and leopard hunting license for 2013 among others , developments that Harrington argued that amounts to abuse of office of authority as well as graft.
Judge Sichinga said since the action by Chibesakunda was Ultra Vires the action was also a nullity.
Judge Sichinga said the only role the Acting Chief Justice should have played was to receive the petition from the petitioner and had no right to refuse to set up the tribunal.
Judge Sichinga however refused to grant the petitioner William Harrington an order of cetiorari which means an order to quash the Chief Justice decision and an order of Mandamus that means to compel the Chief Justice to set up the tribunal because as earlier stated there was no decision that was supposed to be made by the Chief justice apart from receiving the petition.
Former Tourism Minister in the MMD government William Harrington challenged Chibesakunda’s decision to refuse to set up the tribunal to probe Masebo for misconduct.
Ironically Harrington is the same person that had asked the then Chief Justice Enerst Sakala to probe then communications Minister Dora Siliya on the role she played in awarding RP Capital Partners a contract to evaluate Zamtel. Sakala unlike Chibesakunda did not object and informed then President Rupiah Banda as per procedure. Banda gave a go ahead.
Judge Dominic Sichinga was then Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communication and testified at the tribunal. Unless the state appeals, this means that Lombe Chibesakunda has to inform President as per procedure and set upthe tribunal.
The ruling follows a protracted attempt by former Transports and Communications minister William Harrington who, on many occasions argued that the decision by Chibesakunda to fail to constitute a tribunal was inappropriate.
Harrington was represented by PNP Advocates Lawyer Gilbert Phiri