LUAPULA Hydropower Corporation Limited has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that the water permits, which are a subject before court, were signed by WARMA in-house lawyer Chapatama Ngaba.

It adds that Ngaba can, therefore, not prosecute the matter as there is a conflict of interest.

This is a matter in which Luapula Hydropower Corporation Limited and its two directors Brian Chisala and Katambi Bulawayo are charged with one count of failure to surrender water permits, contrary to the provisions of section 86 (2) of the Water Resources Management Act No. 21 of 2011.

It is alleged that Luapula Hydropower Corporation Limited, being a company incorporated in Zambia and having its registered office at Plot No. 62 Roan road, Kabulonga, Lusaka, and the two directors between August 7 and 27, 2020 in Lusaka, having been served with a Notice of Surrender of Water Permits Numbers 10371 and 10372, failed to surrender the permits as required by Section 86 of the Water Resources Management Act No.21 of 2017.

They had pleaded not guilty.

However, when the matter came up for commencement of trial before Magistrate Nthandose Chabala, a lawyer representing Luapula Hydropower Corporation, Andy Wright said Ngaba, who was prosecuting the matter was conflicted, adding that the latter was the acting board secretary of WARMA on August 7, 2020, when the offence was allegedly committed.

He said the water permits, which were a subject before court, were signed by Ngaba.

Wright had, therefore, argued that there was a conflict of interest and Ngaba could not prosecute the matter.

But in response, Ngaba said according to the Water Resources Management Act, the authority secretary was not part of the board or involved in the decision-making, adding that the application was a misdirection on the part of Wright.

He said the signature on the permits would be determined at trial.

The matter comes up on January 25, next year, for a ruling and trial.