Teta Takes Masebo to ACC
Government and Housing Minister Benny Tetamashimba has reported his
predecessor Sylvia Masebo to the Anti-Corruption
Commission (ACC) and the auditor general concerning the purchase of hearses
Mr Temashimba said in an interview yesterday that he had
directed his permanent secretary, Coillard Chibbonta, to report the matter to
the ACC and the auditor general's office for investigations.
He said that
as minister, he had his own suspicions because a single hearse could not cost
US$29,000 and that was the reason he directed the permanent secretary to report
anybody who was suspected to have benefitted from the transaction.
believe that there were irregularities in the transaction and if it is proved
that the price of the hearses was not inflated and that the terms of conditions
were adhered to, I will resign as minister on principle," he
Spokesperson for the auditor-general's office, Ellen Chikale said
she was not aware of the report and efforts to get a comment from Ms Masebo
failed as she was reported to be in a meeting while Mr Chibbonta refused to
Mr Tetamashimba said he told Mr Chibbonta to report the matter
to the ACC and the office of the auditor general last Friday but that he was
disappointed that both institutions had not been to the ministry.
minister said that he had put his head on the "chopping board" and would write
President Rupiah Banda to say he had failed him if it was proved that there was
nothing wrong in the purchase of the hearses.
He said it was surprising
that the same hearses had not been taken to the ministry and the person
contracted to deliver them had not been to the ministry to explain anything on
He also said he had denied Ms Masebo more documents involving
the matter because she went to the ministry with journalists and addressed them
within the premises.
He explained that Ms Masebo had earlier asked for
permission from President Banda so that she could give her side of the story,
which to him proved that she knew something.
He said that Mr Banda made
it clear that the former minister was free to discuss the hearses because they
did not go through Cabinet for her to ask for permission to release any
Mr Tetamashimba said on Thursday last week, Ms Masebo went
to the ministry where Mr Chibbonta gave her documents related to the hearses and
she later addressed journalists.
He said Ms Masebo thereafter talked to
him on the phone and asked to meet him. When she went to his office, she asked
for letters she had received from late president Levy Mwanawasa between 2007 and
He said he told her that he could not avail her the letters because
they were from State House and needed clearance.
She further asked for
some letters exchanged between Mr Tetamashimba and Mr Chibbonta which were also
not availed to her.
The minister said he was shocked that when he left,
Ms Masebo went back to his personal assistant to ask for letters from president
Mwanawasa but that they could not be traced.
He said it was at this point
that he asked Mr Chibbonta not to give any more documents to Ms Masebo and that
he should report her to the ACC and auditor general.