Zambia ex-tourism minister in court over graft

Former Zambia Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo, glamorously dressed and bumptious as usual, made a court appearance Thursday in Lusaka on corruption charges.
She is accused of abuse of office in flouting procedure for cancelling game hunting licenses and terminating jobs in the Wildlife Department.
Ms Masebo says she cancelled game tenders soon after her Patriotic Front party won power in September 2011 when she received complaints of irregularities in the manner the evaluation of the hunting bids were conducted.
She was the late President Michael Sata’s Tourism minister before her dismissal.
The court put off her case until August.
“I’m not surprised,” Ms Masebo said of the charges when she addressed reporters on leaving the court. “I knew as far back as February that the Anti-Corruption Commission will be set upon me, but what I can say is that there’s a time for everything.”
She decried her prosecution as an act of intimidation by the current regime.
The former minister was surrounded by a large group of sympathisers and supporters from the opposition United Party for National Development, whose leader Hakainde Hichilema Ms Masebo has been backing since the January presidential election.
Mr Hichilema narrowly lost the election to Edgar Lungu, the current president.
Ms Masebo remains a member of parliament under the governing Patriotic Front party ticket.
Zambia’s tourism sector is beset with allegations of corruption and mismanagement.