'Zambia should learn from Selebi’s conviction' - Citizens Forum
Selebi: Given 15 years in jail|
Citizens' Forum executive secretary
Simon Kabanda has observed that South African courts are able to perform well
because the constitution in that country provides a strong separation between
the Executive and the Judiciary.
Commenting on the 15-year jail term
slapped on former police chief Jackie Selebi for corruption on Tuesday, Kabanda
called for a strong constitution to give independence to the Zambian
He said if the President in Zambia did not appoint judges they
would perform independently.
“I think we should learn something from the
South Africa scenario that if a former police chief can be prosecuted and jailed
for corruption, we can also do it. If we claim to be serious on the fight
against corruption, then we should give our Judiciary independence,” Kabanda
“The most important thing to note is that the South African
Constitution is very strong on the separation of powers. There is a clear
distinction between the Executive and the Judiciary.
In our case, judges
are appointed by the President and he determines their salaries. In this case,
do you think the Judiciary can be independent? It’s like you are saying the
judges owe it to the President.
But in the case of our colleagues in
South Africa, the President does not appoint the judges. Their Constitution has
provided a clear separation of powers between these two arms of
Kabanda urged the law enforcement agencies to emulate their
South African counterparts and work independently.
He challenged them to
prove that they were impartial by treating offenders equally.
case is reported, our law enforcement agencies should act fairly and timely. In
Zambia, recognised if the culprit is not in good books with the state; in that
case you will see them act swiftly.
But if the person involved in
corruption is in good books with the government, the case will delay or it will
even be ignored.
I think our law enforcement agencies should pick a leaf
from their South African counterparts and act independently. If we get serious
and believe in ourselves then we can catch up with our colleagues,” said
On Tuesday this week, a South African court sentenced former
national police commissioner Selebi to 15 years in jail for
Selebi, a former president of Interpol, was convicted in July
of receiving bribes from a drug dealer, Glenn Agliotti.
Agliotti paid Selebi 1.2m rand USD 6,000 to turn a blind eye to his
Agliotti, who gave evidence against Selebi in return for
immunity on bribery charges, is himself on trial for murdering a mining
Selebi is the most senior official appointed by the country's
government to have been convicted of corruption and has already forfeited
320,722 rands USD ,800 as the proceeds of crime.
The sentence is the
minimum recommended for senior police officers found guilty of
The 60-year-old Selebi was well connected in the ruling
African National Congress (ANC) government.
Selebi was also a former
president of the ANC Youth League, served as South Africa's representative at
the UN and was a close ally of former president Thabo Mbeki.