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Masebo asks court to halt her prosecution

CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
CHONGWE Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo has asked the High Court to stop the State from prosecuting her on charges of abuse of authority of office.
According to a notice for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court, Ms Masebo wants the court to declare that her arrest and criminal prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions is an abuse of the court process and that it was done in bad faith.
In her 35 grounds of appeal, Ms Masebo contends that a tribunal was set up to probe her alleged ministerial misconduct.
High Court judge Dominic Sichinga had ruled that Mr William Harrington had the right to be heard through a tribunal against Ms Masebo in the matter in which she is alleged to have abused her authority regarding Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) operations.
Ms Masebo contends that the decision by the DPP to prosecute her at the instance of Mr Harrington on charges founded on matters that were before the tribunal which did not recommend criminal prosecution of Ms Masebo is ultra vires to the laws.
She says the DPP’s power to prosecute is intended to uphold the criminal justice process and not for ulterior purposes and that in her case, the DPP’s powers are being used to support Mr Harrington’s personal battles with Ms Masebo.
Ms Masebo also argues that Mr Harrington has been waging a personal battle with her, which prompted him to lodge a complaint before the Anti-Corruption Commission leading to the criminal proceedings against her.
“This is after he failed to get what he wanted from the tribunal and the subsequent proceedings before the High Court. It is contended that the DPP has evoked her powers to prosecute under the Constitution and moved the subordinate court in aid of Mr Harrington,” she says.
Ms Masebo has asked the court to stay the proceedings in the subordinate court against her until the judicial review is determined.
“Unless the decision and all proceedings thereon are stayed, there will be nothing to quash or to prohibit in the event that the applicant succeeds in this matter as her prosecution will have continued and possibly concluded,” Ms Masebo says.

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