Former Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Ronnie Shikapwasha has broken the silence over his being surcharged to pay K900 million accrued by ZNBC as legal fees for SBN lawyers engaged to represent it in defamation cases.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha denied ever having directed the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to air a political documentary produced by journalist, Chanda Chimba III dubbed ‘Stand up for Zambia.
He has also refused to pay the K900 million legal fees for SBN legal practitioners who were engaged to represent ZNBC in the case involving the airing of the Chanda Chimba III programmes on the national broadcaster.
SBN is owned by Sunday Nkonde and it was hired by ZNBC not Shikapwasha.
In the said programmes, Chimba eloquently predicted the doom, chaos, confusion, dictatorship and national disunity that would follow in Zambia if certain politicians won the elections last year.
Gen. Shikapwasha said at a press briefing in Lusaka today that he, together with his former Permanent Secretary Dr. Sam Phiri, never at any time directed ZNBC to air the documentary.
He said he has since written to the Secretary to the Treasure refusing to settle the K900 million legal fees surcharged against him by the Attorney General as legal fees for lawyers representing ZNBC for airing the so called libellous documentaries.
Gen. Shikapwasha has also threatened to take legal action against journalists writing stories which he said are untrue on his alleged role in the controversial Chanda Chimba III Stand Up for Zambia political documentary.
He further argued that some editorials written in some sections of the media about his alleged involvement in the Chanda Chimba III Stand Up For Zambia political documentary were libellous.
Meanwhile, Gen. Shikapwasha has complained that the Attorney General did not accord him an opportunity to defend himself saying it was against the law to prosecute him in the media rather that in the courts of law.
In a letter dated 24th February 2012, copied to the Attorney General and in accordance with Section 31 of the Public Finance Act No 15 of 2004, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba notified Gen.
Shikapwasha to pay the legal fees amounting to K900 million incurred by the government of Zambia.