CHONGWE member of Parliament (MP) Sylvia Masebo yesterday appeared in a Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on two charges of abuse of authority of office when she served as Minister of Tourism and Arts.
Masebo’s charges are in relation to how she allegedly cancelled the hunting concessions and terminated contracts of employment for Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) senior officers between 2012 and 2013 without following laid down procedures.
Masebo, 52, appeared before magistrate Muzambalika Simwatachela but could not take plea because the adjudicator handling her case, Irene Wishimanga, is out of town.
She is charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office contrary to Section 21(1) (a) of the Anti-Corruption Act number 3 of 2012.
“Accused person, I will only read the charges to you and mention the case. You will not take plea before me because the magistrate handling your case is indisposed,” Mr Simwatachela said.
The magistrate adjourned the case to August 5 for possible plea.
Masebo, who is being defended by lawyer Robert Simeza, said she understood the charges as read to her by Mr Simwatachela.
And Masebo told journalists outside the courtroom that she is ready to go to prison because the jails are meant for people.
“I am ready for anything, even going to prison because the prisons are meant for human beings. But I want to say that I am not corrupt and I will not be intimidated by any one,” she said.
She was accompanied to court by a horde of cadres from United Party for National Development (UPND).
Particulars of the first count allege that Masebo, being a public officer, namely Minister of Tourism and Arts, abused her authority of office by cancelling the procurement process of tender number ZAWA /DG/002/2/12 for hunting concession without following laid down procurement procedures.
In count two, Masebo allegedly abused her authority of office by terminating contracts of employment for senior ZAWA officers without following laid down disciplinary procedures.
The acts are said to be arbitrary and prejudicial to the rights or interests of the country and other persons.
The offence were allegedly committed on unknown dates but between December 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 in Lusaka.