Court acquits Masebo in ZAWA case

Former Tourism and Arts minister Sylvia Masebo has been acquitted by the Lusaka Magistrate Court on allegations of abuse of authority of office when she cancelled the tender for the hunting concessions.

Speaking to journalists after the judgement, Masebo said she was dragged to court as punishment for supporting Hakainde Hichilema during the 2015 presidential elections.

In her judgement, Magistrate Ireen Wishimanga said Masebo did not cancel the tender as purported by the state but directed the Zambia Wildlife Authority to cancel and nullify the tender and publication of successful bidders.

Magistrate Wishimanga said the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond resonable doubt saying they could have brought witnesses to testify on how Masebo benefited from the action she took of directing ZAWA to cancel the tender.

She said the state should have also demonstrated how the action of directing the cancelation was prejudicial to the government.

Magistrate Wishimanga said Masebo never benefitted from the action she took on behalf of government and that was why the tribunal that was constituted cleared her.

It was alleged that Masebo between Dec 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 did abuse the authority of her office by cancelling the tender for hunting concessions without following the laid down procedure, an act which was prejudicial to the interest of the Zambian government.

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