Howard Sikwela testifies in social cash transfer case

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A witness has told the Lusaka Magistrate Court that it is not Former Minister of Community Development Emerine Kabanshi who authorized the payments of Social Cash transfer to beneficiaries through Zampost.

Former Ministry of Community Development Permanent Secretary Howard Sikwela told the Court that it is him who gave the instruction to Zampost to make payments to the beneficiaries.

This is in a matter were Ms. Kabanshi is charged with two counts of willful failure to comply with the applicable procedure or guidelines relating to procurement involving the Social Cash Transfer Programme.

When the matter came up Reverend Sikwela, however, told Lusaka Magistrate Lameck Mwale that his decision to allow Zampost was meant to fulfill the wish of Ms Kabanshi.

It is at this point that Reverend Sikwela was shown a letter which was signed by him.

When challenged by Defence Lawyer Jonas Zimba to produce evidence to the contrary Reverend Sikwela said he was given verbal instructions to effect the minister’s decision.

The witness was also shown a letter in which the Acting Permanent Secretary was apologizing on behalf of the Ministry to the Attorney General regarding the implementation of the programme.