Kabimba takes to Tribunal stand

Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General and Honourable Minister of Justice, Mr Wynter M. Kabimba, SC, ODS, MP
Mr Wynter M. Kabimba
Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba this morning took the stand at the Tribunal appointed to probe him denying allegations that he abused his office and breached the Oath of Secrecy when he disclosed a government legal opinion to Patriotic Front lawyers.

Mr. Kabimba told the tribunal being chaired by Acting Supreme Court Judge Evans Hamaundu that his letter dated 1st August, 2013 to which he attached a government legal opinion obtained from the Solicitor General in his capacity as Justice Minister, was an expression of concern over the debate that had emerged on the nullification of parliamentary seats.

Mr. Kabimba 56, of house number 337, independence Avenue, Lusaka, explained that this is why the said letter was titled election petitions and findings of the Supreme Court, to imply that in his capacity as Justice Minister he was merely expressing his concerns on the issue as matter of public interest.

And Kabimba has told the tribunal that neither him nor the PF had obtained pecuniary advantage when he obtained and disclosed a government legal opinion to his party’s lawyers as there were no charges attached to the provision of such an opinion and that the legal opinion was not classified as earlier alleged by the complainant.

He says members of the public including political parties in the country are free to get legal opinion at no cost from either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General.

Meanwhile Mr. Kabimba who is also PF Secretary General has contended that copying the letter he wrote to PF lawyers to the Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda does not amount to interfering in the independence of the Judiciary.

He says this is because the letter he copied to the Acting Chief Justice did not have any directives that the Judiciary was supposed to follow.

Mr Kabimba adds that by copying the letter to the Acting Chief Justice his party was merely informing the Judiciary of what it was planning to do in view of the opposition political parties’continued trend of fielding candidates whose parliamentary seats had been nullified on grounds of corruption to contest in by-elections of the same parliamentary seats.

The Minister who was being led in examination in-chief by the defence counsel Bonaventure Mutale has maintained that such a measure by his party was in the interest of having a clean electoral system were electorates vote without being cohersed by financial benefit.

The matter has since been adjourned to 14:30 for cross examination.