By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
JUSTICE Minister Wynter Kabimba has denied abusing his power and breaching the oath of secrecy when he shared the legal opinion rendered to him by Solicitor General Musa Mwenye.
Testifying before the Tribunal constituted to probe his alleged breach of oath of secrecy, Mr Kabimba, who admitted obtaining legal opinion, said he did so in his capacity as Justice minister for the benefit of Zambians.
Mr Kabimba told the tribunal chaired by acting Supreme Court Judge Evans Hamaundu and his two members, High Court judges Gertrude Chawatama and Justine Chashi that there was nothing classified about the document that he could not have shared it with anybody.
He said allegations by the petitioners, former Solwezi member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa and human rights activist Brebner Changala, were unfounded because as PF secretary general and minister of Justice, he had a duty to serve the interests of Zambians even if it meant obtaining advice from a Government officer.
Mr Kabimba also denied accusations that he interfered with operations of the Judiciary when he copied the legal opinion to the acting chief justice, saying he would be the last person to mount pressure on a Judiciary officer because he was interested in seeing that the Judiciary upheld its integrity.
The minister further explained that his move to seek advice from Mr Mwenye was premised on the fact that some political parties had continued to field candidates whose seats had been nullified after they had been found guilty of electoral malpractices.
He said this was despite the PF having set an example by stopping Darius Mumba from re-contesting the Chama North seat after his election was nullified on grounds of engaging in malpractices.
Mr Kabimba said the letter copied to Ms Justice Chibesakunda carried no instructions or direction as it was merely to inform her about the issue and, as such, he did not see any interference from his conduct.
Mr Kabimba said nobody obtained pecuniary advantage from Mr Mwenye’s legal opinion, adding that the solicitor general’s office was open to members of the public who wanted to seek advice as he did.
He said as PF secretary general and minister of Justice, he was playing dual roles, was the custodian of the PF manifesto and wanted to ensure that it was implemented in all departments.
Mr Kabimba’s testimony came when the complainants closed their case after calling Daily Nation’s journalist Wallen Simwaka to testify how the newspaper received a letter from Mr Mwenye demanding that it withdraws a defamatory article against him.