THE Lusaka Magistrate’s court has heard that former minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Ronnie Shikapwasha and his permanent secretary Samson Phiri were arrested for abuse of authority of office for committing government to legal liabilities after they directed Zambia National Broadcasting corporation to air a programme that was defamatory in nature.
In this case, Shikapwasha, Phiri and Chimba are in court facing two counts of abuse of authority of office, while freelance journalist Chanda Chimba is facing two counts of unlawful printing and publication.
Deputy chief superintendent Peter Bwalya told principal resident magistrate Obbister Musukwa on Tuesday that he conducted investigations at ZNBC, Muvi Tv and Mobi Tv where it was established that Chimba paid for the broadcasting of a programme dubbed ‘Stand Up for Zambia’.
Mr Bwalya said Chimba paid for 26 episodes of the programme to be aired on ZNBC at a cost of K172,940 but that Phiri directed that 14 episodes were to be repeated at no cost, resulting in the national broadcaster losing a total of K78,580.
“I went back to ZNBC where it was confirmed that both management and the board of directors refused to air the documentary due to the nature of the documentary but Shikapwasha and Phiri directed the corporation to broadcast the documentary,” he said.
Mr Bwalya added that he conducted investigations at the Patents and Companies Registration Agency and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and it was confirmed that Chimba’s production company was registered, but banking investigations revealed that the company had no funds to support such transactions.
He said the ZRA confirmed that the media production company had not paid any duty for any of its transactions and the he made up his mind to arrest Chimba for being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime amounting to K611, 404.
Zambia Daily Mail