By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
JUSTICE Minister Wynter Kabimba yesterday appeared before a Tribunal constituted to probe his alleged breach of secrecy.
Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, in her letter dated January 7, 2014 responding to former Solwezi Central Member of Parliament (MP) Lucky Mulusa and human rights activist Brebner Changala’s petition, said she had no objection in setting up a Tribunal to investigate Mr Kabimba’s alleged abuse of office and breach of the oath of secrecy.
The three-member Tribunal, led by acting Supreme Court judge Evans Hamaundu and members, High Court judges Gertrude Chawatama and Justine Chashi, is expected to submit its report to President Michael Sata and Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini by February 20, this year.
The Tribunal has been given 45 days, inclusive of weekends from the time it was appointed on January 7, 2014, to conclude its work and submit the report.
Mr Mulusa and Mr Changala want the Tribunal to state whether or not Mr Kabimba abused his office by using Government information rendered by Solicitor General Musa Mwenye to allegedly block parliamentarians whose seats had been nullified by the Supreme Court for engaging in corrupt practices, from re-contesting their seats.
Addressing both parties when he opened the Tribunal yesterday, Mr Justice Hamaundu said the Tribunal would work within the terms of reference set out by Mr Mulusa and Mr Changala in their letter of December 24, 2013 and would refuse anything outside that.
Mr Justice Hamaundu said that was because the strength of the allegations and questions set out by the two petitioners in their letter was the foundation for the Tribunal.
Mr Justice Hamaundu said the Act under which the Tribunal was constituted did not specify the form in which investigations should take, but that they would be guided by the provisions of the Inquiries Act.
The terms of procedure would adopt section 13 of the Inquiries Act Chapter 41 of the Laws of Zambia.
Mr Justice Hamaundu reminded both parties that the Tribunal was not a court of law and as such, it would not be bound by the rules of evidence or by the rules of procedure.
Mr Justice Hamaundu said both parties would be at liberty to call any witness to testify.
He, however, said the summoning of any witness would be a prerogative of the Tribunal after a party sought its leave by stating the reasons why it wanted that person to be called.
He said no party would be allowed to seek attendance of any person by issuing a
subpoena under the ‘white book’.
Mr Justice Hamaundu further stated that due to the limited time for the inquiry, the complainants had been given five days (Monday, January 20 to Friday, January 24, 2014) to state their case while Mr Kabimba would respond from January 27 to January 31, 2014.
He said that would give the Tribunal time to review the evidence, prepare the report and submit it within the stipulated timeframe.
Mr Kabimba is represented by State Counsel, Bonaventure Mutale from Ellis and Company, Dr John Mulwila from Ituna Chambers, Willy Mubanga of Chilupe and Permanent Chambers, Robinson Malipenga of Malipenga and Company, A.D Mwansa of Mumba Associates, and Abraham Mwansa of AMC Associates.
Mr Mulusa and Mr Changala are represented by Makebi Zulu of Makebi Zulu Advocates.