Deputy PF Chief Whip Tutwa Ngulube says some members of parliament have abused their immunity before the floor of the House by continuously dragging innocent people into debates.
On Friday, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini formally warned Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo to desist from laying forged and fake documents before the table of the House.
This was in connection to a question by Nkombo who had alleged that Zesco paid PF Secretary General Davies Mwila about K3 million. Nkombo produced a photocopied version of a letter to this effect.
Nkombo’s question, however, was followed up by a point of order by Ngulube, who is also Kabwe Central PF member of parliament, on whether or not Nkombo was in order to abuse his parliamentary privileges by presenting a forged and fake document with intent to embarrass the PF secretary general and scandalize Zesco.
In his ruling on Friday, Dr Matibini said his committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services investigated the matter and found that the letter which Nkomo laid on the table of the House was fake.
Dr Matibini warned Nkombo to desist from feeding the House with unverified information.
“The committee on Privileges, Absences and support services noted that the gist of the point of order raised by Mr Nkombo was based on a purported internal memorandum that was placed on the social media and watermarked “Zambian Leaks.” The committee found that by tabling the internal memorandum without verifying its authenticity, Mr Nkombo was in breach of the rules of the House. The committee noted that Mr Nkombo was the first offender and further from his testimony, he did not intend to deceive the House when he raised the point of order and in the process, presented a false untrue document to the house. In this regard, the committee resolved to exercise lenience and recommended that Mr Nkombo should be formally warned and advised that if he repeats such conduct, a sterner course of action will be taken against him. I accepted this recommendation,” Dr Matibini ruled.
And speaking to Hot FM’s Red Hot Breakfast show, Tuesday, Ngulube said members of parliament had abused their immunity.
“In this National Assembly, members of parliament enjoy immunity for everything they say on the floor of the House [is protected] and you see members of parliament have abused that immunity by even dragging into their debates, innocent people. We have seen an abuse in that area,” Ngulube said.
“The fact that he was given a lighter punishment does not change the tone of the offense. The matter that Mr Nkombo committed is a very grave offense. That is why even those who appear at committee in parliament are warned before they start talking that ‘here there is Cap 12 which says if you mislead this House or present a fake document, you are liable to imprisonment for six months with hard labour.’ And I think he is lucky that he escaped that jail sentence. And that is why when Mr Speaker finished the ruling, he came and shook my hand and said ‘I am lucky that this matter did not go the route that we were expecting to go’ [because] they knew. Why should a biggest opposition party be involved in scandalous publication of fake documents and also why should the nation believe that when the UPND get into power, they will lead this country better than the Patriotic Front?”
And Ngulube challenged Nkombo to resign on moral ground for misleading the House and the nation at large.
“And I think to set the record straight, the UPND have on several times been saying ‘the government must do this’ and we are also looking forward to a time that Mr Nkombo will say ‘on moral ground, an MP cannot forge a document and present it on the floor of the house, so I am quitting.’ They have been urging government to resign. So we want to see if the UPND has a moral ground upon which they can either discipline Mr Nkombo or ask him to resign so that the people of Zambia can get an MP that does not tell lies to the nation,” said Ngulube.