Transparency International Zambia has challenged the DPP to also appeal against Dora Siliya and Maxwell Mwale’s acquittals to avoid a perception that Sylvia Masebo’s case is a result of political persecution.

TIZ acting executive director Wesley Chibamba said if the Director of Public Prosecutions was acting in public interest, she must apply the law fairly.

“Transparency International Zambia takes keen interest in cases to do with corruption and abuse of office by high ranking officials. Our stance has always been that high ranking public officials who face corruption and abuse of office charges should be made an example out of, by giving them the maximum sentences possible when convicted. This should serve as a deterrent mechanism to other public officials entrusted with power and decision making authority,” Chibamba stated.

“We have noticed with interest that the DPP has appealed against the acquittal of former tourism minister Silvia Masebo. While we welcome this move, we challenge the DPP to also appeal against the recent acquittals of Agriculture minister Dora Siliya and Maxwell Mwale. The two were facing similar charges to that of Silvia Masebo, they were acquitted a few weeks ago. We expect the DPP to also appeal these acquittals, otherwise the DPP risks the Masebo appeal to be misconstrued as political persecution, trying to fix political opponents rather genuine pursuit of justice for the Zambian people. If the DPP is acting in public interest, let this be applied to similar cases.”

Chibamba observed that the office of the DPP had made some questionable decisions in the recent past.

“The office of the DPP has often contradicted itself through their actions or lack thereof when it comes to public interest. This is the same office that appealed the Constitutional Court judgment that Ministers who remained in office after dissolution of parliament did so illegally and should refund government the emoluments they enjoyed during that period. It is because of this appeal that the subject ministers have not yet paid back this tax payers money to the owners, the Zambian people,” stated Chibamba.

“In our opinion, the Constitutional Court acted in public interest through that judgment, while the office of the DPP acted in the interest of a few affected ministers and the executive. We would like to urge the DPP, as a public office, to genuinely act in public interest and not political interest. We urge the DPP as part of the justice system, not to apply double standards and always be above board in the execution of their functions.”