A DETECTIVE inspector has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he received a complaint from Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya that someone had published defamatory remarks against her on a Facebook page and she felt her reputation was injured.
This is a matter in which Chella Tukuta is charged with libel.
It is alleged that Tukuta on May 26, 2020 in Lusaka, published defamatory matter affecting Siliya in the form of a video on Facebook that, “This Dora Siliya is hooking up girls, selling girls to the high-profile people so that men can be sleeping [with them], she is actually the highest of the highest professional prostitute. If Dora Siliya is refusing these allegations that she does not connect girls to high-profile people for sex, let her come.”
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and trial commenced with Siliya testifying in the matter as the first prosecution witness.
When the matter came up for continued trial before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale, Tuesday, Robison Kalonde a detective inspector testified that on June 2, 2020, he received a complaint from Siliya, who complained that an unknown person published defamatory remarks against her on a Facebook page.
Kalonde, 45, of Kafue Police camp said the said Facebook page was in the names of ‘Chellah Tukuta Photography.’
He said he interviewed Siliya and also viewed the content of a video, which had a male person who was dark in complexion and was wearing a blue long-sleeved T-shirt.
Kalonde said in the said video the man was allegedly saying that, “this Siliya is hooking girls, she is selling girls so that they can be sleeping with high profile men. She is actually the highest of the highest prostitutes. If Dora Siliya is refusing this allegation, that she does not connect girls to high profile people for sex, let her come.”
The witness said as a result of the said words, the complainant (Siliya) felt that her reputation was injured.
Kalonde further said acting on Siliya’s complaint, he instituted investigations to determine the user of the Facebook page called: “Chella Tukuta Photography.”
He said the cyber crime report indicated that the Chellah Tukuta Photography Facebook page was operated by mobile No. 0962443045, which was registered by MTN mobile service provider.
Kalonde said he further requested from MTN for subscriber identification information and that according to the report from MTN, it indicated that the mobile No. 0962443045 was registered in the names of Cornelius Mulenga Tukuta, who was a holder of NRC No. 130705/10/1 and holder of a drivers licence.
He said he later verified the NRC number from Department of National Registration and the driver’s licence from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and confirmed that they were issued to Cornelius Mulenga Tukuta.
“I asked the suspect for the items that he has been using to access the Facebook page. He gave me two laptops, two cell phones, one external hard drive, three USB cables and two chargers. I (later) prepared a seizure notice, which was signed by myself, the suspect and my witness. There was no witness for the suspect,” Kalonde narrated.
Trial continues on March 25, this year.
Siliya, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, had testified that on May 25, 2020, she received a call from a lady called Natasha Vandermaas, who asked her if she had seen what had been posted on the Internet by a person called Chella Tukuta.
She said that she responded by asking the said Natasha who Chella Tukuta was and was informed that he was a photographer.
Siliya said she told Natasha that she did not know who Chella was and had not seen what he had posted.
She said that Natasha then sent to her WhatsApp pictures from Chella’s Facebook writing about the Northern Province Permanent Secretary.
Siliya said on June 1, 2020, she got a call from Kaizer Zulu, President Edgar Lungu’s former special advisor for politics, who also asked her if she had seen what Chella had posted.
She said that Zulu then proceeded to tell her that Chella had gone too far because he was calling her a pimp, adding that at that time she decided to see what the posting was about.
Siliya said her son, who she was quarantined with during the time, showed her the said video where Chella accused her of being a pimp.
“In the video I saw the face of Mr Tukuta in a bluish, dark T-shirt talking about a number of things. What caught my interest was on the 14th minute where he said to the effect that, ‘this Dora Siliya who is hooking up young girls to high-profile men, selling them to sleep with high-profile people. She is the highest of the highest of the professional prostitutes’,” she had narrated.
Siliya said she then decided to make a formal complaint to the police.
Siliya testified that she was extremely disturbed that someone could be referring to her as a person who sells girls to high-profile men, which she believed was a crime.
“I felt angry, embarrassed because apart from my own person, a person who has been a public servant for so many years, I felt that this injury was about me in person, but also government since I work for government and also the people of Zambia who elected that government that I work for. I also felt that it was damaging to me and to my reputation and my family,” said Siliya.