16 January 2013

Zambia: Former Permanent Secretary Nabbed

FORMER Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Sam Phiri has been arrested on two counts of abuse of authority of office and corrupt acquisition of public property.

Dr Phiri was arrested locked up in a cell at Woodlands police station yesterday before he was released on bond

Government Joint investigations team spokesperson Namukolo Kasumpa said Dr Phiri 54 would appear in court today.

He was slapped with two counts of abuse of authority of office and corrupt acquisition of public property and revenue.

Dr Phiri while employed as Permanent Secretary acting together with then minister Ronnie Shikapwasha allegedly arbitrarily and in disregard of defamation laws and editorial policy did direct Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) management to air the highly-defamatory 'Stand Up for Zambia' documentaries.

This act was prejudicial to the rights and interests of ZNBC, a public body.

It is alleged in the second count that Dr Phiri while acting with Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha in disregard to professional legal advice not to broadcast 'Stand Up for Zambia' committed Government to pay all liabilities and legal fees emanating from the broadcast of the programme.

Dr Phiri, the Zambian newspaper Limited, former Zambia Daily Mail deputy managing director Davies Mataka, and consultant Ngande Mwanajiti are alleged to have in the third count fraudulently diverted KR 195, 000 (K195 million) of Public Media Support Fund.

This money was allegedly used for the unlawful production of a private newspaper called "The Zambian. "

Last week, Gen. Shikapwasha, Mr Mwanajiti, Chanda Chimba III and Mr Mataka were arrested but Dr Phiri was out of the country at the time.

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