TIZ director testifies in Kabimba tribunal hearing

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Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) Executive Director Goodwell Lungu has told the tribunal investigating Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba that his organization wrote to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) over its concerns on the nullification of parliamentary seats due to corruption activities.
Mr. Lungu said TIZ was concerned that candidates whose seats were nullified on account of corruption were allowed to re-contest their seats saying it was against the electoral law.
He noted that according to the law, candidates whose seats are nullified for involving themselves in corruption should be blocked from re-contesting their seats for the next five years.
Mr. Lungu said in his letter to ECZ, he asked the commission to interpret the law to make TIZ understand why it was allowing candidates whose seats were nullified as a result of corruption to participate in a subsequent by-election.
He added that the intention TIZ to write to ECZ was to clean up the electoral process and ensure that corrupt candidates were blocked from standing for the next by-elections in accordance with the law.
And in response to the petitioners’ lawyer Makebi Zulu who asked if TIZ recognizes the independence of the Judiciary, Mr. Lungu responded in the affirmative but said it could not write to the judiciary over the nullification of parliamentary seats because it (judiciary) did not conduct elections in the country.
He said unlike the judiciary, ECZ was mandated to conduct elections in the country hence his organisation’s decision to write to ECZ and not the judiciary.
And when he was asked about the circulation of the letter, Mr. Lungu revealed that he shared it with the media who covered it extensively so that ECZ could act and for other stakeholders to join the debate on the matter.
And Chairperson of the tribunal, Acting Supreme Court Judge Evans Hamaundu said his team needed time to look at the case and see if there could be any critical areas that need witnesses to testify.
Justice Hamaundu said the tribunal would subpoena witnesses if there will be need and that reasons will be given for doing so.
The proceedings have since been adjourned to Monday, January 27, 2014 for continued hearing.
The three member tribunal consisting of Justice Hamaundu and High Court Judges Justin Chashi and Gertrude Chawatama was set up to investigate whether Mr. Kabimba abused the authority of his office when he transmitted government information to the Patriotic Front PF through the party’s lawyers Ellis and Company.
The tribunal was also tasked to establish whether a litigant in an election petition gained pecuniary advantage when he used the information and whether he interfered with the judiciary when he copied the legal opinion to the Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.

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