Chief government spokesperson and information minister Honourable Dora Siliya this morning emotionally testified before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale in a matter where photographer Chellah Tukuta accused her of being a high level prostitute.
Ms Siliya, 49, emotionally told the court that she may be single, divorced and may have had failed relationships but that does not make her a high level prostitute as alleged by Chellah.
She denied Chellah’s allegations she was selling girls for sex.
This is in a case in which Chellah, 34, is charged with criminal libel after he published defamatory matter affecting Ms Siliya in the form of a video on Facebook that Ms Siliya is a pimp and hooks up girls for high profile people like ministers and permanent secretaries, but the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
However, testifying before magistrate Mwale this morning, Ms Siliya denied ever engaging in the business of selling human beings as alleged by Chellah.
“I don’t sell human beings, I don’t engage in sexual activities for cash. I am a human being, I am not infallible and what I have done is the best I can. Yes, I maybe single, I may have failed relationships, I maybe divorced but that does not make me a high level proustite. That doesn’t mean I sell human beings. I sell girls to high profile men,” Ms Siliya emotionally told court, adding that she decided to have Chellah prosecuted after his injurious utterances which damaged her reputation.
She recalled how she received several phone calls from her colleagues, including Infrastructure minister Vincent Mwale and former State House aide Kaizer Zulu over Chellah’s video which was extremely embarrassing.
She further said she also received a WhatsApp message from United States Embassy in Lusaka charge de affairs David Young who described the video by Tukuta as misogynistic and disgraceful.
Earlier, she narrated how she received a call from Natasha Vandermaas on May 25, 2020, who alerted her about Chellah’s video.
She said at the time, she was in quarantine with her son at her home in Ibex Hill for COVID-19.
Ms Siliya explained that her son whom she was with in the kitchen, downloaded the video, and she saw Chellah making allegations about her.
She said what got her attention in the video was where Chellah said she was hooking up young girls to high profile men for sex.
Ms Siliya said Tukuta also accused her of being a high level prostitute and asked that all the people watching the video must publish it to the whole world.
She said she was extremely incensed and called her permanent secretary Amos Malupenga to find out if he had seen the video of which he confirmed in the affirmative.
Ms Siliya said she then decided to make a formal complaint to the police who followed her home on June 2, 2020 because she was still in quarantine.
“The police did ask me why I was making the statement and I told them that because she was accused of committing criminal activities of selling human beings and that from my simple English. Prostitutes sell sex for cash and that that was what I was being accused of,” Ms Siliya said.
“I was watching the videos with my son that someone should referring to me as a person who sells girls to high profile men which I believe is a crime. I felt angry, embarrassed because apart from my own person, a person who has been a public servant for so many years, I felt that this injury was about me in person but also for the government and also the people of Zambia who elected that government that I work for. I also felt that it was damaging to me and to my reputation and my family.”