Tuesday 16th January 2018

Masebo to call 20 witnesses to defend the allegations leveled against her

TOURISM and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo has told the Tribunal constituted to probe her alleged interference into the operations of the Wild Life Authority (ZAWA) that she will call 20witnesses to defend the allegations leveled against her.

Ms Masebo told the Tribunal chairperson Rhoyda Kaoma who sat with two members Livingstone Judge-in charge Ernest Mukulamutiyo and Lusaka high court judge Chalwe Mchenga when they sat yesterday to outline the ground rules that she was ready to call 20witnesses but the proceedings would dictate whether all of them would have to testify.

The Tribunal is officially expected to start its sittings sitting on Monday and Ms justice Kaoma told both parties that the tribunal which had 45 day to complete it sittings from the time it was appointed was now remained with reduced days.

It was appointed on February 13, 2014 after former communications and transport minister William Harrington petitioned the acting chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda to set up a tribunal against Ms Masebo.

“We have less than 40 days and out of the 40 days 20 should be left to the tribunal to prepare and submit its findings to the President and the Speaker,” she said.

Justice Kaoma said the tribunal would start sitting at 09:00 hours upto 18:00 hours with only a lunch break at 13:00 hours.

Ms Masebo is represented Michael Mundashi, Bonaventure Mutale and Robert Simeza, all State Counsels while Mr Harrington has Gilbert Phiri, Makebi Zulu and Keith Mweemba.

Mr Phiri indicated on behalf of Mr Harrington that he will call 12 witnesses out of which five were supposed to be subpoenaed as they are serving in Government.

Ms Justice Kaoma said Mr Harrington being the petitioner will be the first to bring witnessesand will lay his evidence from Monday up to February 28 and Ms Masebo will start on March 3 and will finish on March 7 this year.

She said that rules of evidence and procedure which apply in civil and criminal matters in the High Court will not apply to the tribunal because Ms Masebo was not under trial but merely investigating her alleged professional misconduct.

She said the tribunal will consider the issue of relevance with the outmost importance and lawyers should endeavor to call relevant witnesses.

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