FORMER Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) director general Edwin Matokwani on Friday testified before a Lusaka Magistrate’s Court that former Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo breached her ministerial etiquette when she cancelled a tendering concession for 19 hunting blocks in 2012.
And Mr Matokwani testified before Magistrate Ireen Wishimange in a fully packed courtroom that Ms Masebo, in her capacity as minister, was wrong to dismiss him and four other senior ZAWA officers because they did not heed her directives of including chiefs on the selection and tendering committee of the 19 hunting blocks because this was against the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Act.
Mr Matokwani was testifying against Ms Masebo who was arrested and charged with two counts of abuse of office.
Ms masebo is alleged to have cancelled a tender of hunting licence when she served as Minister of Tourism and Arts.
In the second count, Ms Masebo, who is PF Chongwe member of Parliament, has been charged with abuse of office for allegedly terminating employment contracts of senior officers at ZAWA without following procedure.
Mr Matokwani, 52, of Shimabala, in Lusaka’s Chilanga district, said he was shocked to learn through the local media, that he and four senior managers were relieved of their duties by the minister contrary to the law.
He contended that Ms Masebo had no role to play in the tender, bidding and evaluation process of selecting the successful bidders for hunting licences in Zambia’s 19 Game Management Areas.
Mr Matokwani told the court that Ms Masebo did not even know the operations of ZAWA, and that the minister had no powers to dismiss the officers.
He further said Ms Masebo had no jurisdiction whatsoever to terminate the tender which was in its final stage of implementation.
Mr Matokwani further told the court that Ms Masebo was also wrong to start asking the names of the successful bidders when the final selection process was not yet exhausted.
He said it was also wrong for Ms Masebo to cancel the tender when the Community Resource Boards (CRBs) were represented from the initial process of the bidding process adding that the CRBs are elected by the community with a chief of a particular area being a patron of the board.
And the 17 United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres who were arrested on Thursday for unauthorised procession, appeared before magistrate Kenneth Mulife on Friday, and denied the charge.
It is alleged that Alfred Habeenzu and 16 others on September 15, 2015, jointly and whilst acting together with others, took part in a procession by matching from the junction of Nationalist Road to the Independence Avenue traffic lights without a police permit.
The 17 cadres were granted bail in their own recognisance in the sum of K5,000 with two working sureties from reputable organisations.