Siliya refuses to speak at Zamtel inquiry

Former Minister of Communications and Transport Dora Siliya yesterday refused to personally give evidence regarding the US$257 million sale of Zamtel assets to Libya’s Lap Green.
Ms Siliya, 41, instead opted to have Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota speak on her behalf even after being asked five times to speak by Minister of Justice Sebastian Zulu to defend herself.
She remained mum.
This was when she appeared before the Commission of Inquiry appointed by President Sata to investigate the US$257 million sale of Zamtel to Lap Green of Libya.
The commission summoned her  to defend herself on her alleged involvement in the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) which led to the subsequent sale of 75 percent shares of Zamtel assets to the Libyan company.
Her lawyer, Mr Sikota, said he saw no reason why his client should answer questions from the commissioners as she was not minister of Communications and Transport at the time of the sale of Zamtel.
Mr Sikota said it is not necessary for Ms Siliya to comment on the matter because the matter was rested after Chief Justice Ernest Sakala constituted a tribunal pursuant to the provisions of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, chapter 16 of the Laws of Zambia.
“Our client appeared before the tribunal, and these allegations were tested. Furthermore, there was recently an appeal before the Supreme Court of Zambia which essentially addressed the allegations. The appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of Zambia and judgment delivered.
“The exact allegations were also subject of court proceedings in the High Court of Judicature for Zambia in a matter involving Mr Andrew Kashita, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), RP Capital Partners and the Attorney General,” he said.
Mr Sikota said his firm has instructed Ms Siliya not to comment on the allegations levelled against her by a consortium of 10 civil society organisations and other people regarding the sale of Zamtel.
Mr Sikota said there were judicial review proceedings before the High Court of Judicature for Zambia to which the Attorney General was party, and that Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) moved a motion successfully to join the proceedings in which Ms Siliya was not found with any case to answer.
But Mr Zulu, who is commission’s chairperson, explained to Mr Sikota that the committee decided to summon Ms Siliya so that she could defend herself on the numerous allegations that have been levelled against her regarding the questionable sale of Zamtel to Lap Green.
“We decided to hear from you so that you can defend yourself, but we are surprised that you have decided not to speak. So many things have been said about you regarding the sale of Zamtel, and you should also understand that this is not a court but just a commission appointed to receive submissions from people.
“We decided to give you an opportunity so that as we come up with a final report, your views could also be heard,” Mr Zulu said.
He, however, assured Ms Siliya that the commission will ensure that it gets all the pertinent materials regarding the sale of Zamtel before coming up with a final report which will be presented to President Sata for consideration.

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