Power and Politics

Chief Justice Mumba Malila receives petition to set up tribunal against Energy Minister, Kapala

The Zambia Civil Liberties Union (ZCLU) has written a letter of complaint to Chief Justice Mumba Malila requesting for a tribunal to be set up against Energy Minister Peter Kapala for breaching the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.
In a letter dated, November 14, 2023, Organization Deputy Executive Director, Maurice Makalu, said the matter should be investigated under section 13 (1) (3) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.
Makala alleged that Kapala, acting in his capacity as Minister of Energy, did abuse his powers by assisting companies to acquire pecuniary advantage in the supply of Low-Sulphur Diesel.
He stressed that this was done through using information not available to the public, allegedly soliciting and accepting transfers of economic benefit to the entities.
“In the year 2022, after a public tender, Agrofuel Investments Limited was awarded a contract to supply and deliver 100,000 metric tonnes of Low Sulphur Gas Oil and to finalise the conversion of the TAZAMA pipeline to become a carrier of finished products,” Makalu explained.
He stated that Kapala, however, on dates unknown allegedly facilitated an additional single sourced contract for Agrofuel Investment Limited to supply diesel which contract was later published in the media as having been suspended between September 15 to 21, 2023.
Makalu highlighted further that on September 1, 2023, the Minister offered approval to Devon Oil Zambiw Limited to supply, in partnership with Glencore Energy UK limited, 100,00 metric tonnes of diesel in September,  2023.
“While the fuel carrying vessel was marooned at sea in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, Kapala canceled the offer he granted to Devon Oil Zambia,” he recalled.
Makalu stated that as reported in the media on Friday 27, 2023, soon after canceling the fuel supply approval to Devon, the Minister turned back to Agrofuel Limited.
He pointed out that another letter authored under the hand of the Minister surfaced indicating that he had on November 2, 2023, unilaterally given approval to another Oil company, Transworld Petroleum Limited to supply 100,000 metric tonnes of Gas Oil in December, 2023.
“These approvals were uncompetitive and irregular. Further, the actions by the Minister amount to abuse of office and breach of section 4 (a) (e) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act,  requiring an investigation by a competent tribunal set up in accordance with the law,” Makala stated.
He emphasized that it was also the requirement of the law that such business was guided by the Public Procurement Act, 2020, Public Procurement Registration, 2022 and the Energy Regulation Act, 2019.
“The breach of part II of the Ministerial Code of Conduct,  once established has severe consequences,  as Article 72 (3)(c) of the constitution enacts: “the office of a nominated Member of Parliament; “(C) acts contrary to a prescribed Code of Conduct,”  Makalu highlighted.
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