Zambia Police have arrested and charged Ministry of Finance Public Relations officer, Chileshe Kandeta aged 50 of Kabulonga and Lazarous Mwelwa aged 46 of Chamba Valley, a Budget Analyst at Ministry of Finance for the offence of Communication of Certain Information contrary to section Four chapter 111 of the State Security Act.
This is in relation to the leaking of the 2021 National Budget Speech which went viral before it was officially presented in Parliament.
They are detained in Police custody awaiting a court appearance.
Last week, Zambia Police summoned Diamond TV Chief Executive Officer, Costa Mwansa and Head of News and Current Affairs, George Chomba to appear before them at force headquarters in connection with investigations police were conducting in relation to who is alleged to be a leaked speech of the 2021
Mr. Mwansa and Mr. Chomba were questioned by police to find out how the Television station came into possession of the speech hours before it was presented to parliament.
The duo had their personal cell phones confiscated including a company laptop used for editorial purposes. It is believed that police intend to arrest the two if they do not reveal the source of the document from the Ministry of Finance.
Traditionally, the Ministry of Finance gives media personnel embargoed copies of National Budget for expert analysis. This is before the Finance Minister delivers the budget speech to members of Parliament.
This year, Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu delivered his budget speech on 25th September, 2020.
MISA Zambia chapter condemned the act by police and described it as an affront to media freedoms in the country.
Zambia Police also questioned ZNBC staff and some officials from the Ministry of Finance over the leaked 2021 budget speech.
A budget speech is a confidential document until it is presented in Parliament by the Minister of Finance.