Ronnie, Phiri given 21-day ultimatum to settle ZNBC legal fees
FORMER Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Ronnie Shikapwasha and former permanent secretary Sam Phiri have been given 21 days to respond to the surcharge notice issued to them regarding the legal fees incurred by Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) for airing the documentaries dubbed ‘Stand Up for Zambia’ by Chanda Chimba III.
The two were surcharged for allegedly instructing ZNBC to air the highly libellous documentaries in the run-up to the September 20 general elections.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said Lieutenant General Shikapwasha and Dr Phiri were served with the notices on February 24 this year.
Mr Yamba told journalists in Lusaka yesterday that he invoked Section 31 of the Public Finance Act, which provides for the surcharging of erring public officers.
He said his office is waiting to hear from the two former public officers, on the notices served to them.
“We issued them with notices on February 24 regarding the surcharge over the legal fees which were incurred by ZNBC for airing Chanda Chimba’s documentaries,” he said.
On February 23, Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour Fackson Shamenda announced that Gen Shikapwasha and Dr Phiri had been surcharged close to K1 billion legal fees ZNBC owes SBN legal firm.
SNB represented ZNBC when individuals sued the national broadcaster for airing Mr Chimba’s documentaries.
Mr Shamenda said Gen Shikapwasha and Dr Phiri have been surcharged about K900 million which they should pay SBN.
This follows investigations which have ascertained that the two instructed ZNBC to air the libellous documentaries, on the agreement that the ministry would reimburse ZNBC expenses on retaining lawyers to defend the national broadcaster.
Mr Shamenda said if Gen Shikapwasha and Dr Phiri fail to settle the bill, Government will withhold benefits owed to them.
[Zambia Daily Mail]