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By ZamChro Correspondent,

Communications and Transport Minister, Dora Siliya and ally of the president quit on Tuesday over a graft scandal, a sign that Rupiah Banda’s government is stepping up its fight against corruption in Africa’s biggest copper producer.


The tribunal appointed to probe her found that the minister breached the constitution by not complying with the legal advice of the Attorney General when she awarded a tender to RP Capital Partners Limited to valuate the assets of the state-run Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel). 


Former Minister of Communications and Transport, Dora Siliya

Former Minister of Communications and Transport, Dora Siliya

The tribunal that was investigating three allegations of abuse of office against Siliya, however, found that the minister did not breach the ministerial and parliamentary code of conduct in relation to the other allegations brought by the petitioners.


Siliya is alleged to have awarded a contract to RP Capital Partners of Cayman Is land to value Zamtel at a contract sum of US$ 2 million with total disregard of advice from the Attorney General’s office.


In the second allegation, Siliya is said to have overruled the Zambia National Tenders Board and cancelled a duly awarded contract for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of a Zambia Air Traffic management Surveillance Radar System at Lusaka and Livingstone international airports.


And in the last allegation, Siliya was alleged to have claimed K12.5 million refund from Petauke District Council Committee in Eastern province where she is a member of parliament, for two hand pumps for two boreholes in one of the wards called Nyika, when in fact the hand pumps were procured at K5 million. (1USD=K5,700).


“After considering all the evidence, we have found that allegations number two and three have not been proved against Hon Dora Siliya.


“But we have found that the first allegation relating to the failure to comply with the legal advice of the Attorney General and failure to observe tender procedures has been proved,” the tribunal stated in its recommendations obtained by PANA on Friday.


“In the present case, we leave Hon Dora Siliya’s breaches to his Excellency the president to deal with,” the tribunal recommended.


And President Rupiah Banda, who received the tribunal’s report on Thursday, said he would immediately study the report and make his reaction known to the nation.


The petition was filed by former Minister of Communications and Transport William Harrington who urged the Supreme Court to set up a tribunal to probe the alleged breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act by Siliya.


Consequently, Banda’s spokesman Dickson Jere said Transport and Communications Minister Dora Siliya had resigned after a tribunal found she breached the constitution over a $2 million contract she awarded to a foreign firm.


Siliya is the first minister to resign from Banda’s six-month-old government, which has faced several accusations of corruption from the opposition and privately owned media.


Banda has vowed to continue a crackdown against graft begun by his predecessor Levy Mwanawasa, who won plaudits from western donors and international agencies for his tough stance.


Siliya was investigated over a contract she awarded to a Cayman Islands firm to evaluate assets of the state telecoms firm, Zamtel Ltd., which is due for partial privatization.


A tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge Dennis Chirwa said in a report to Banda that she had breached the constitution.


It was not immediately clear whether Siliya would face prosecution.


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