CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
MINISTER of Agriculture Dora Siliya has been acquitted of abuse of authority charges she was alleged to have committed when she was Minister of Transport and Communications
during the MMD administration.
Siliya was charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office for allegedly cancelling a tender for installation of a radar system, and instead accepting a free offer from Italian firm Selex Systemi Integrati.
When the case came up for ruling before Ndola High Court registrar Joshua Banda, sitting as magistrate, he found Siliya with no case to answer.
Mr Banda said for the offence of abuse of authority to be satisfied, a person should have acted arbitrarily while being employed in the public service.
He said a person’s actions should come directly from an illegitimate agenda which is improper in motive with either personal gain or gain for another person.
Mr Banda said Siliya did not cancel any tender because she did not have the authority to do so as that power only lay with the central tender committee.
He said the involvement of Selex to repair the radar was commenced by another minister and permanent secretary and that Siliya only brought the free repair offer to Government’s attention.
Mr Banda said there was no sufficient evidence to support the allegations, adding that this is the reason the tribunal which was set up to probe Siliya cleared her of the same allegations.
He said there was no evidence that should warrant Siliya to defend herself.
“In accordance with section 206 of the CPC [criminal procedure code], I dismiss the charge and its allegations, consequently Ms Dora Siliya is acquitted,” he said.
Particulars were that Ms Siliya, in breach of laid down procedure, allegedly accepted a purportedly free offer from Selex Systemi Integrati for the repair of a radar at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport as a result of which Government paid K1,943,932,360, an act prejudicial to the rights or interests of the government.