A WITNESS has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that a ministerial statement by tourism minister Jean Kapata indicated that the government suspended the safari hunting concessions in 2013.
This is in a matter where Sylvia Masebo is alleged to have abused her Authority when she canceled the hunting concessions.
Testifying before senior resident magistrate Ireen Wishimanga yesterday, Ackim Musonda, an employee of the National Assembly, narrated that on July 9, 2015, Kapata informed Parliament that the government suspended the safari hunting concessions in 2013 due to declining Lion population in some areas as a result of over harvesting.
Musonda, 53, who edits the Hansard, a document that contains daily verbatim parliamentary debates, explained that Kapata told parliament that the other reason for suspending the hunting concessions was due to depletion of habitats for Lions.
“The ban on cat hunting meant that both the community and the private sector were pushed out of wildlife conservation picture. Considering the weak capacity of ZAWA to manage both national parks and GMAs, the illegal harvesting of wildlife resources could not be controlled effectively. If this situation was left unchecked, the country risked losing its valuable resource,” Kapata said according to the report.
Masebo closed her defence in the matter and her lawyer Robert Simeza is scheduled to file written submissions on April 26.
The court also told ACC prosecutor Bonniface Chiwala to file his submissions on May 12 before judgment is delivered on 14 July.