Airtel Zambia Facing Phone Tapping Allegations
Chellah and the Cartel Illegally Spied On U.S., Say Journalists
Two Lusaka-based journalists have petitioned the High Court of Zambia to inquire into allegations of phone tapping by some members of the cartel and Airtel Zambia under the previous government.
Mr. Thomas Allan Zgambo and Mr. Clayson Hamasaka filed the petition in the Principal Registry of the High Court on Tuesday June 16, 2015.
According to Court documents seen by Zambia Reports, the two journalists say they have evidence that Airtel Zambia and some other people unknown between 2013 and 2014 diverted various text messages to and from the numbers they have been using.
According to the petition, their messages were being diverted to four numbers all registered in the name of Evaristo Phiri. The petition further states that other third party persons that communicated with the duo also had their messages diverted to the said numbers. Further, the filed petition says among the people that had their messages diverted by the virtue of communicating with the duo are Members of Parliament and notable people from the business community.
Meanwhile, a source at the mobile phone company who refused to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media said Airtel Zambia has shifted the blame to former State House Press Aide George Chellah.
“Yes we have been served with the petition but we will refer it to the Attorney General because it is George Chellah and Mutembo Nchito who commissioned the phone tapping of the two journalists,” the source said.
Mr. Thomas Allan Zgambo who is the First Petitioner and Mr. Hamasaka the Second petitioner say in their petition that Airtel Zambia breached Article 11 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambiaan Article 17 Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, Article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, the Electronic and Communication Transactions ACT No21 of 2009 of the Laws of Zambia and the Protection of Fundamental Rights Rules 1969 Statutory Instrument no WDF of 1969 of the Laws of Zambia.
The so-called “cartel” is a group of powerful special interests including the suspended DPP Nchito, the owner and editor of the Post Newspaper Fred M’membe, the recently arrested banker Rajan Mahtani, and the former Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba. Under the administration of the late President Micheal Sata, the cartel was known to control the state instruments from behind the scenes, however, since the election of President Edgar Lungu they have been under increased pressure. In recent weeks, there have been signs of a developing alliance between the cartel and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).
The two journalists in this case are being represented by Messers AKM Legal Practitioners of Lusaka.