JUSTICE minister Wynter Kabimba has given Choma UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa a seven-day ultimatum in which to apologise to him for alleging that he is still facing corruption charges.
This follows Mweetwa's statement in The Post of March 22 that one of the reasons that had divided African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC) members on political lines was that Kabimba, who presented the motion to lift the immunity of the former president Rupiah Banda, was himself facing corruption allegations.
Mweetwa had said that although he supported the lifting of Banda's immunity to pave way for his prosecution, members of APNAC were still divided on the matter on party lines because of some moral issues.
"For instance, how can the Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba who is facing corruption, be the one to bring the motion in the House to lift the immunity of another?" Mweetwa remarked.
But Kabimba stated in a letter to Mweetwa that he knew as he was making the statement that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) had made an official statement on the issue.
"I expect you as president of the African Parliamentarian Network Against Corruption (APNAC), Zambia Chapter to verify such information with ACC before making such a defamatory statement against me," the letter read in part.
"Consequently, I am left with no doubt in my mind that your statement does not represent the position of APNAC but your personal views as an individual who is attempting to apportion blame to innocent persons like me for your failure to cultivate a successful legal career. In view of the above, I want you to confirm the following: That the said statement attributed to you was indeed uttered by yourself; that you still believe the same to be correct in substance and material facts as stated. In the absence of a written apology from you within seven days from the date hereof over the same, I shall be left with no option but to commence legal proceedings against you in the High Court for libel."
But Mweetwa said he did not owe Kabimba any apology.
Mweetwa accused Kabimba of adopting a style of threatening anyone objectively opposed to him with legal action.
"He can go ahead with the legal suit. I don't owe him any apology. I was speaking according to the information I had at that time. It is his name which is left with corruption allegations that he should clear. I am not responsible, it is him to clear his name," Mweetwa said.
He said that as an advocate against corruption, it was his duty to comment on corruption-related issues.
Mweetwa said Kabimba's intended legal action was meant to silence him and others.
"Wynter has introduced a governance style where everyone who questions him is threatened with legal action. That office (justice minister) is meant for people who want to be held accountable. What Kabimba must do is ask ACC to publically clear him, not secretly," said Mweetwa.