Ex-Zambian leader Banda set to go on trial

2013-04-03 07:48
Former Zambian leader, Rupiah Banda. (File, AFP)

Former Zambian leader, Rupiah Banda. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lusaka - Zambia's ex-president Rupiah Banda is set to go on trial Wednesday charged with abusing his power over a Nigerian oil deal that he struck while in office.

Banda, who ruled Zambia from 2008 to 2011, when he lost to Michael Sata, last week pleaded not guilty to sealing the crude oil contract to benefit himself and his family.

The former head of state was arrested after lawmakers last month lifted his immunity from prosecution, which he is fighting in a separate court battle.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison if found guilty.

The prosecution is ready to go to trial, but it is believed that the defence could mount a challenge.

A trial will pit the defence's argument that Banda is a victim of a political ploy against the state's claims that he was involved in corrupt activities.

The case stems from the procurement of a crude oil contract on an unknown date during Banda's three years in power.

According to court papers, the 76-year-old is accused of procuring the inter-government contract for the country but which was "meant to benefit himself and his family".

The state claims Banda roped his son Henry, who left Zambia after his father lost power and is wanted by authorities.

Banda is charged with instructing his son to "determine the destination of the funds which were proceeds" of the contract.

Anti-corruption drive

The prosecutors argue this resulted in Zambia having not received "any benefit" from the deal.

Banda's lawyer Sakwiba Sikota has said that the only defence that the former leader would rely on is the truth.

"We know this is a fishing expedition and the truth shall be known," he said when Banda was arrested.

Since Sata came to power he has rolled out an anti-corruption drive that some have seen as a move to silence dissenting views.

Some analysts have claimed that Sata's government was persecuting leaders in the previous government, a claim that chief government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni vehemently rejects.

Sakeni insists the government will adhere to the law and therefore not prosecute anybody without reason.

"We have the courts of law and if somebody is clean he will be cleared by the courts. We are a government that believes in the rule of law," Sakeni said.

The trial would not be the first time that Zambians see a former leader be put through the courts.

The late Frederick Chiluba, who ruled from 1991 to 2001, also had his immunity removed and faced graft related actions at home and in Britain.

He was eventually acquitted by a Zambian court and a local judge refused to recognise a guilty ruling handed down in London.

He died in 2011.

Read more on:    frederick chiluba  |  michael sata  |  rupiah banda  |  zambia  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.