The Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Margret Nasha, has reacted sharply to a letter from lawyers acting for Finance and Development Minister Kenneth Matambo’s intention to sue Parliament.
“I have been advised that your purported service on me of the aforestated letter offends, among other laws, the provision of Sections 5, 3 and Section 26 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 02:05,” Nasha wrote.
Matambo, through his lawyers Collins and Newman, last week slapped Parliament with a letter stating that Matambo is aggrieved by the findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the BDC-Fengyue Glass Manufacturing (Botswana) and its conclusions and recommendations as contained in the report and the manner in which the Committee conducted its hearing.
Responding to Matambo’s lawyers, Nasha states that “Consequently, I am declining service of your aforestated letter and I return same to you hereto, enclosed.”
According to Section 3 of the National Assembly as cited by Nasha, “No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any Member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, the Assembly or its Committee or by reason of any matter or thing so brought by him by petition, Bill, motion or otherwise.”
Section 5 also states that no process issued by any court in the exercise of its jurisdiction shall be served or executed within the precincts of the Assembly while the Assembly or a committee is sitting, for any criminal offence without the consent of the speaker.
Section 26 of the National Assembly that Nasha made reference to also states that “Neither the Speaker nor any officer of the Assembly shall be subjected to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on or vested in the Speaker or such officer.”
Matambo’s lawyers had also called on Nasha and Chairman of the Committee, Abraham Kesupile, to withdraw the relevant adverse findings and insinuations made in the report against Matambo, failing which they intended to institute review proceedings against the Committee and the Speaker of Parliament.
“In particular, our client states that the Report is fundamentally flawed and therefore liable to be set aside on the basis of one or more of the following: that the investigations and or inquiries on allegations of impropriety relating to the aforesaid manufacturing project were conducted, as against our client and others in a secretive or classified fashion and without complying with the basic tenants of the law with regards to the right to be heard,” say Matambo’s lawyers.
The lawyers also warned that “By copy of this letter, the Attorney General is put on notice of the contemplated legal proceedings for purposes of compliance with provisions of the State Proceedings (Civil Action by or Against Public Officers) Act (Cap.10:01).”