Magistrate Banda acquits Siliya of corruption

Lusaka magistrate Joshua Banda has acquitted Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya of two counts of abuse of authority of office, committed when she was Minister of Transport and Communications.

This is a matter in which Siliya was facing two charges of abusing the authority of her office when she cancelled the duly awarded tender for supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of a Zambia Air Force management surveillance Radar system.

The tender was awarded to Thales Air System of South Africa but the implementation of the said contracts was frustrated by the cancellation of the tender, an act deemed prejudicial to the rights and interests of the government.

Siliya was also accused of breaching procedure by purportedly accepting a free offer from Selex Sistemi Integrati SPA for the repair of the Radar head, at the then Lusaka International Airport between February 20, 2008 and April 20, 2009.

But Magistrate Banda yesterday dismissed the charge and it’s allegations against Siliya.

Banda said there was no evidence that could warrant Siliya to defend herself, and consequently acquitting her.

Magistrate Banda said the lack of sufficient evidence to support the allegations of abuse of authority was also the reason why the tribunal which was set up to probe her some few years ago cleared her of the same allegations.

He said there was no evidence that Siliya directed an arbitrary act to be done of cancelling the said duly awarded tender.

“From the foregoing there is no evidence that should warrant the accused to defend herself,” said Banda

Magistrate Banda added that Siliya was not involved in the engagement of Selex Sistemi Integrati SPA to repair the radar but that the process was started by another minister and the accused just brought the issue to the attention of government that Selex had offered free repairs.

The court said the issue of costs sprung up when Selex claimed that additional works outside the scope of free offer were needed such as training of technical staff.

He said all that was happening when Siliya was transferred from Ministry of Transport and Communications as confirmed by the two witnesses.

         

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