CHAPTER One Foundation (COF) has written to Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima asking her to institute a tribunal which can investigate why Cabinet Ministers and the Speaker of the National Assembly have failed to declare their annual assets, liabilities and income.

COF has, however, commended Justice Minister Given Lubinda for being the only one who has been compliant with this requirement.

In a letter dated January 13, Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde stated that Cabinet Ministers’ failure to declare their annual assets was in breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial code of conduct.

“Complaint made pursuant to Section 13 (1) And (3) Of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act Chapter 16 Of the Laws of Zambia. We take notice that annual asset declarations made in accordance with the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act Chapter 16 of the laws of Zambia are submitted to your Ladyship and kept on a register which members of the public can inspect. We inspected the said register on the 9th of December 2020. Arising from the inspection we wish to complain of non compliance in respect of the members listed in the annex of non-compliance to section 10 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of conduct attached hereto and seek your ladyship to institute a tribunal pursuant to section 13 (1) and (3) of the Act. The relevant parts of section 13 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act state as follows: (1) An allegation that a member has breached Part II may be made to the Chief Justice by any person, in writing giving particulars of the breaches or breaches alleged, signed by the complainant and giving the complainant’s name and address,” Kasonde stated.

“The Chief Justice shall notify the President and the Speaker of the allegation and shall appoint a tribunal in accordance with section fourteen to investigate the allegation. (4) The tribunal shall, within 44 days after its being appointed, submit a report on its findings to the President and to the Speaker and shall furnish a copy to the Member concerned. The failure to comply with the requirements of the code of conduct seriously falls below conduct expected from members of the legislature holding portfolios meant to lead the country diligently.”

Kasonde stated that an investigation was needed to ascertain why the Cabinet Ministers had failed to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

“The particulars of the breach are that according to section 10 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct, an officer is required to submit to the Chief justice annual declarations of their assets, liabilities, and income. Section 10 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct provides as follows: (a) within thirty days after his appointment; and (b) within thirty days after each anniversary of his appointment to the office concerned submit to the Chief Justice an annual declaration of assets, liabilities and income in accordance with this section. (3) An annual declaration shall fairly state (a) the value of the assets (other than personal and household effects) and liabilities of the Officer as at the declaration date; and (b) the total income of the Officer, together with his income from each source, for the twelve months preceding the declaration date. The officers are expected in mandatory terms to state fairly the value of their assets, liabilities and the total of their incomes together with their income from each source,” stated Kasonde.

“The members listed in the schedule attached hereto have not complied with this requirement as they have not stated the value of their assets, liabilities, their income, the sources of their income and their income from each source to the standard required by section 10 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct. We therefore seek an investigation into these breaches by way of section 13 (3) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act and that a tribunal be instituted.”

According to Chapter One Foundation, Cabinet Ministers who had not declared their assets include Minister of Defense Davies Chama, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Lawrence Sichalwe, Tourism Minister Ronald Chitotela, Northern Province Minister Lazarous Chungu, Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga, Local Government Minister Charles Banda, National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili, Minister of Agriculture Micheal Katambo, Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini and Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa.

Others include Minister of Gender Elizabeth Phiri, North Western Province Nathaniel Mubukwanu, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dora Siliya, Minister of Lands Jean Kapata, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji, Minister office of the Vice President Olipa Phiri, Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya (no longer in office), National development and planning Minister Alexander Chiteme, Minister of Youth Sport and Child Development Emmanuel Mulenga, Community and Child Development Kampamba Mulenga Chilumba, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya, Commerce and Trade Christopher Yaluma, Fisheries and Livestock Prof Nkandu Luo, Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, Higher Education Minister Dr Brian Mushimba, Minister of Works and Supply Sylvia Chalikosa, Labour and Social Security Minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe, Housing and Infrastructure Development minister Vincent Mwale, Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu, Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale, Western Province Minister Richard Kapita, Muchinga Province Minister Sichone Maloze, Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilangwa, General Education Minister Dennis Wachinga, Water Development and Environmental Protection Minister Jonas Chanda, Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe and Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa.

And in a press statement, COF commended Lubinda for being the only one who had been compliant with this requirement.

“Chapter One wishes to commend Minister of Justice, Honourable Given Lubinda who has consistently made declarations to the standard required by the law,” read the statement.