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Harrington questions delay in appointing tribunal over Forest 27

WILLIAM Harrington says he is hopeful that the matter relating to Forest 27 will be brought to its logical conclusion.

Harrington, a former environment and natural resources minister, recalled that as far back as August 2019, he and Robert Chimambo petitioned the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal to investigate the Minister of Lands Jean Kapata over the matter.

“We refused to accept his [deputy chief justice Michael Musonda] reasons because in any case the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act, Cap 16 of the laws of Zambia does not give powers to investigate allegations made against a minister or MP. The Act also does not give the deputy chief justice any discretionary powers on whether to appoint a tribunal upon application by any citizen,” he said in a statement.

Harrington said the deputy chief justice usurped the role of a tribunal by conducting his own investigations.

He said such a move also defeated the purpose of the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act.
“It is for the reason that we filed a notice of an application for leave to apply for judicial review … the decision of the deputy Chief Justice to deny us our legal and constitutional right to be heard in the proposed tribunal,” said Harrington.

“Our own findings on Forest 27 suggest that the whole matter is pregnant with illegalities and we insist that our judicial system will give us an opportunity to expose the illegalities. We appreciate and understand the challenges that the deputy registrar maybe experiencing but what is interesting and of concern is that the apparent delay in appointing a tribunal is unprecedented in the history of Zambia. We are however hopeful that this matter will be brought to its logical conclusion.”

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