CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has acquitted former Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo of corruption charges in which she was accused of having directed the
cancellation of a tender for hunting concession licences.
This is in a case in which Masebo was charged with abuse of authority of office.
When the matter came up for judgment before magistrate Irene Wishimanga yesterday, it was established that Masebo did not cancel the tender process but merely directed the suspension of the same as it was marred with corruption.
Magistrate Wishimanga noted that Masebo’s actions were not arbitrary as she did not make the directive on her own but she did so in consultation with other government officials.
She said there was no evidence on record to show that Masebo abused her office because her decision on the tender process was due to the fact that the process was marred with irregularities such as leakage of information to prospecting bidders.
Magistrate Wishimanga also found that Masebo did not benefit from the cancellation of the tender, but instead the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) saved the money it would have lost.
She said Masebo acted on behalf of government and there was nothing detrimental from her actions.
Particulars of the matter are that Masebo allegedly abused her authority of office by terminating contracts of employment for senior ZAWA officers without following disciplinary procedures.
The acts were said to have been arbitrary and prejudicial to the rights or interests of the country and other persons.
The offence was allegedly committed on unknown dates but between December 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 in Lusaka.