In January 2012, at the request of Zambia police, Interpol issued a red notice, the closest equivalent to an international arrest warrant, against the 46-year-old businessman, who for some years has lived in South Africa where he has residency through marriage.
According to documentation seen by the Mail & Guardian, Henry Banda, who was a leading figure in the election campaign for the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) in 2011, was wanted by Zambia’s police and the country’s anti-corruption commission for alleged money laundering and being in possession of “unlawfully obtained” property.
However, despite approaches by his legal team to the Zambian authorities over the course of 16 months, no details of the charges were ever released and no legal case for extradition was presented to South Africa. Last month, Interpol confirmed that an investigation into the case notes had “raised strong doubts concerning compliance with Interpol rules” and said that Banda’s file had been deleted from its records.
Banda’s lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, the chief operating officer at Johannesburg’s Brian Kahn Attorneys, which until earlier this year represented former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, said Interpol’s decision supported their position that the attempted prosecution was political.
“There never were any formal charges. From inception, it has been obvious that this has been politically motivated,” she said. “The aim has always been to get at Rupiah Banda because of the threat he poses to the Patriotic Front government.”
Mail & Guardian