Police have recorded a warn and caution statement from Post Newspaper editor in chief Fred M’membe and his reporter Mukosha Funga for publishing a letter in the paper that was classified under the state security act.
Police deputy spokesperson Rae Hamoonga told a media briefing that Mr M’membe and Ms Funga have been warned and cautioned in relation to the article that was published on 17 April 2014, under the headline “Lungu’s aide under $200, 000 bribe probe,” The article stated that President Edgar Lungu’s political advisor Kaizer Zulu was under probe for receiving US$ 200, 000 bribe from a Chinese business executive in order for Zulu to facilitate a meeting between the Chinese and the President.
The story was derived from a letter that was written by Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) director Rosewin Wandi to president Edgar Lungu that the commission wanted to investigate Mr Zulu for the aforementioned bribe allegations.
Mr Hamoonga said investigations will continue and if found wanting the two will be called back to the police and a charge of being found in possession of classified information under the state security act will be slapped on them.
Initially the police summoned three reporters but the Post Newspaper lawyers appealed to the police not to interrogate Kombe Mataka who could not stand the probe because of her pregnancy.
“Kombe could not stand the probe because of her pregnancy situation, she will be called at a later date when she is be able to stand the investigations, ” Mr Hamoonga said.
Bloomberg news reported that the Zambian police are investigating leaks of classified government information after the Post newspaper reported that Zambia had agreed to borrow $193 million from a Chinese weapons manufacturer.
The privately owned Post newspaper on May 9 reported that President Edgar Lungu’s cabinet agreed to the loan from Chinese state-owned Poly Technologies Inc., citing a letter from Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska to Fredson Yamba, the treasury secretary. The funds would pay for security equipment for police, the immigration department, prisons and the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Post said.
In response President Edgar Lungu said he is thinking twice about enacting the Freedom of Information Bill because of the way information is being mishandled by the media.The President said the allegation that government is hiding a US$192 million loan from China for security purposes is false. Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili told the police Sunday to investigate the leak,