civil society organizations in Zambia have petitioned the country's Chief
Justice to set up a tribunal to investigate
allegations of abuse of office against Minister of Communications and
Transport, Dora Siliya. The minister is accused of signing a memorandum of
understanding between the Zambian government and RP Capital Partners of Cayman
Islands to provide consultancy services for the valuation of the Zambia
Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) without competitive bidding.
President George Kunda, who also is the justice minister, says the deal was
properly cleared by the country's solicitor general. He accused opponents of
politicizing the issue.
Former communications and transport minister William Harrington, who petitioned
for the setting up of a tribunal said the awarding of $2 million without
competitive bidding is a breach of Zambia's Parliamentary and Ministerial Code
Current communications minister Dora Siliya told VOA the Zambian Daily Post newspaper which broke the story has acted as
investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury at the same time.
far as The Post newspaper is concerned, government can do no right. So it is a
futile discussion as far as the Post newspaper is concerned because they will
be the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and everything themselves," she said.
refused to say whether she was categorically denying the allegations against
her except to say that they were politically motivate.
saw these allegations in the papers, isn't it? That's why I'm saying I will
make no comment because as far as we are concerned we can't win any argument
because they decide to be the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and everything.
The truth will be known at the right time," the minister said.
and Transport Minister William Harrington, who petitioned for the setting up of
a tribunal, said the awarding of nearly US$2 million without competitive
bidding is a breach of Zambia's Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of conduct.
"These allegations which
have been leveled against the Honorable minister regarding her conduct in
respect to tender procedure on privatization of our telecommunications company
Zambia (ZAMTEL) as well as acquisition of services and goods to replace the
radar at the Lusaka International Airport over which her office is directly
responsible. And because of the allegations, I thought prudent and expedient
that in order for Zambians to know the exact truth, that competent,
professional, and independent tribunal is established by the chief justice of
the Republic of Zambia," he said.
Zambia's vice President
George Kunda, who also is the justice minister, says the deal was properly
cleared by the country's solicitor general. He accused opponents of
politicizing the issue.
But Harrington denied that
both he and Zambian civil society groups are politicizing the allegations
against Minister Siliya.
"The action I have taken is
non-political as far as I'm concerned. I'm acting merely as an ordinary and
concerned Zambian citizen because large sums of tax payers money have been
involved, and I think it is for that very reason that it is now necessary to
establish through the offices of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia,
as provided in our laws that he establishes a three-man tribunal for purposes
of establishing the truth," Harrington said.
describes the Zambian Chief Justice as an honorable person who would be able or
should be able to respect the provisions of the law unless there's political
interference from higher authority.