Just drop case as state is not ready – RB’s lawyers tell court

Just drop case as state is not ready – RB’s lawyers tell court

Former President Rupiah Banda has asked the magistrate’s court to discharge him because the State is not ready to prosecute him in a matter in which he is facing a charge of concealing light trucks.
Banda in his response when the State sought another adjournment yesterday said it was clear from several adjournments by prosecutors that they had failed to prosecute the matter.
Submitting through his lawyers before principal resident magistrate Obbister Musukwa, Banda said both he and his lawyers had suffered numerous setbacks at the instance of the adjournments by the State.
Banda is alleged to have concealed gratification involving nine light trucks valued at K471 million, contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act No 38 of 2010.
Particulars allege that Banda between January 30 and August, 2011 received nine motor vehicles, all valued at K471, 000,000 which property was obtained as gratification from Sogecao Zambia Ltd, a subsidiary of Anui Foreign Economic Construction Company, which was contracted to construct the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
And that he concealed the receipt of the said motor vehicles by having them registered in the names of other people connected to him.
“In the alternative if the court grants the State another adjournment then it should come up with a condition to discharge him. Our submission is on the premise that this court had warned the State before at the last sitting to ensure that they obtain fresh instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which have delayed,” the defence lawyers said.
Mr Lubinda Linyama from Erick Silwamba and Company and Mackebie Zulu said the State had asked for 20 days adjournment in the last sitting but failed to obtain any instructions and that all the arguments for and against showed that the State had unduly delayed to prosecute this matter.
But Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) prosecutor Dennis Simwiinga submitted that the court should grant them the last adjournment because the DPP was on record making progress in the matter after browsing the docket.
“In the next sitting, we shall have instructions from the DPP who felt that before he can issue instructions, he needed to consider a few issues which came to light in the process. We pray for the last adjournment as we feel that for justice to prevail, we should not rush this matter so that all the vital steps are taken into account before the matter proceeds further,” Mr Simwiinga said.
Mr Musukwa in his ruling expressed concerns at the delay by the DPP’s chambers to issue instructions to allow the court to make progress in the matter from the time the accused was apprehended and started appearing in this court.
“This attitude by the State is raising serious concerns which in my view the accused’s submissions are genuine and valid, I hope in the next sitting the State will be ready to prosecute,” he said.
The matter was adjourned to August 30, this year for another mention.

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