SPEAKER of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini this afternoon strongly reprimanded Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili for breaching parliamentary privilege when he accused home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo of receiving a bribe from Grandview International, saying the allegations were unfounded and lacked evidence.
Rendering a ruling in a matter where Kampyongo wrote to his office in November last year to complain against aspersions of corruption cast on him by Kambwili, Speaker Matibini told the House that the committee on privileges, absences and support services upon deliberation on the matter, found that “although Dr Kambwili insisted that the allegations were true, he had failed to adduce evidence to substantiate his allegation against Honourable Kampyongo, MP”.
“I wish to inform you Honourable members that on Wednesday, 8th November, 2017, my office received a letter of complaint from Honourable S. Kampyongo, MP, Minister of Home Affairs against Dr C Kambwili, MP. The complaint alleged that on Tuesday, 19 September, 2017 when the House was considering a ministerial statement presented by the Minister of Local Government Honourable Vincent Mwale, Dr C Kambwili, MP, alleged that Honourable Kampyongo, MP, while serving as Minister of Local Government, corruptly received three motor vehicles from Mr Bokani Soko as gratification for awarding Mr Soko’s company, Grandview International, a contract to supply 42 fire trucks to the government,”
Speaker Matibini said.
He added that in his letter, Kampyongo made reference to Standing Order 531 of the National Assembly Standing Orders 2016 which required members to ensure that any information they provided to the House was factual and verifiable.
“In addition, the Honourable member stated that from the time Dr C Kambwili, MP, made the allegation, he had failed to provide any evidence to substantiate his claim. The Honourable minister further submitted that the utterances by Dr C Kambwili, MP, had the effect of injuring his reputation as he was now considered a corrupt person who was not fit to hold public office,” Speaker Matibini noted.
He pointed out that Kambwili’s defiance to produce evidence to the Committee was in contravention of parliamentary privilege.
“The Committee, upon deliberation on the matter, found that although Dr Kambwili insisted that the allegations were true, he had failed to adduce evidence to substantiate his allegation against Honourable Kampyongo, MP. In this regard, the Committee found that Dr Kambwili’s defiance to produce the evidence as required by Standing Order 531 amounted to a breach of the Standing Order and therefore that he was guilty of breach of parliamentary privilege for making a false statement on the floor of the House. The Committee noted that the offence was very serious and that Dr Kambwili must be reminded,”
He then proceeded to address Kambwili, in absentia.
“The House is extremely displeased with your conduct of making allegations on the floor of the House and then failing to adduce evidence to substantiate them. The privilege of freedom of speech is there to ensure that members debate freely without fear of reprisals. This privilege, however, is only and limited as it requires the information you bring to the floor of the House to be factual and verifiable,” reprimanded Speaker Matibini.
“Dr Kambwili, MP, as a senior member of this House, you are expected to know that anything you say on the floor of the House is factual and verifiable. You cannot, therefore, without evidence, wantonly make unfounded and unwarranted allegations against persons and then plead the privilege of the freedom of speech. The rules and procedures of the House, as put in place, are intended to ensure that members only bring to the House information that is factual and verifiable. This is intended to ensure that the House and the public at large are not misled. You cannot therefore use the floor of the House to damage other people’s reputations and thereafter plead privilege. I therefore now strongly reprimand you and direct that you desist from exhibiting such conduct in future. Honourable members, as the House is aware, a member who is reprimanded for breach of parliamentary privilege is required to apologise to the House. In this regard, Dr Kambwili, MP, will in due course render his apology to the House on the day that he will be available in the House. I thank you.”