Judges fail to show up in former president’s trial; one sick, other in accident

Judges fail to show up in former president’s trial; one sick, other in accident

Two cases in which former President Rupiah Banda is charged with abuse of authority of office and theft failed to take off in the Lusaka Magistrate Court on Monday because one magistrate said he was sick and the other was said to have been involved in a road accident.

In the first instance, Mr Banda failed to take plea before magistrate Obbister Musukwa but instead appeared for mention before principal resident magistrate Aridah Chulu.
Mrs Chulu explained that he could not take plea because magistrate Musukwa was involved in a road traffic accident and that he would only be available for plea today.
“Your magistrate is not here because he was involved in an accident but he told me that he would be here tomorrow [today],” Mrs Chulu said.
And the matter in which Banda is accused of having abused the authority of his office could also not take place before magistrate Joshua Banda.
When the matter came up for continued trial, magistrate Banda said he could not hear the case because he was not well enough.
“I went to the hospital and they have given me two days off. I wanted to hear the matter but I am not feeling too well,” magistrate Banda said.
The matter was later adjourned to tomorrow.
In the matter before magistrate Banda, the former President, 75, of house number 3 plot 2759 off Leopards Hill Road in Lusaka, is charged with one count of abuse of authority of office contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence are that on dates unknown but between May 1, 2008 and September 24, 2011 in Lusaka, Banda, being a person employed in the public service namely President of the Republic of Zambia, did abuse the authority of his office.
He allegedly procured a Nigerian government-to-government oil contract in the name of the Republic of Zambia “which he in fact meant to benefit himself and his family”.
He is accused of instructing his son, Henry Chikomeni Banda, to determine the destination of the proceeds of the contract, an instruction from which the Republic of Zambia did not receive any benefit.
Banda’s alleged act is “arbitrary and prejudicial to the interests of the Republic of Zambia”.
In the other matter, Banda is alleged to have received nine trucks amounting to K471,000  from a Chinese firm as gratification.
Particulars of the offence are that Banda, on unknown dates but between January 1, 2011 and August 30, 2012 in Lusaka, received nine trucks.
The vehicles are all valued at K471,000 and were allegedly obtained as gratification from Segacoa Zambia Limited, a subsidiary of Anui Foreign Economic Construction Company, a firm contracted to construct the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The vehicles were registered in the names of James Banda, Verecy Banda and Kelvin Sampa.

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