Lawyers representing former President Rupiah Banda have petitioned the court to remove Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito as lead prosecutor in the matter where the ex-leader and a Chinese national Jin Gao are charged with corruption. Mr Banda’s lawyers told the court that Nchito might be a key witness in one of the cases involving the former head of state.
Stephen Lungu told magistrate Obister Musukwa that the defence team was not against the case delayed to January 21, 2014 but would object to Nchito being the lead prosecutor.
“We wish to place it on record that when the matter comes up for hearing on the dates agreed we will object to the Director of Public Prosecution to prosecute this matter. The DPP is a potential witness in another matter involving our client and cannot therefore be seen to be prosecuting our client,” Stephen Lungu said.
Lungu told the court that today, they could not divulge much on why Nchito should not prosecute Banda but would do so when trial commences.
“For records, when the matter comes up we will be giving the reason why the matter cannot be prosecuted by the DPP,” he said.
And Muskuwa said that he was equally concerned that the matter has dragged on for some time now saying both the prosecution and the defence should avoid unnecessarily adjournment.
“I am mindful that this matter has dragged on for a long time and we should make progress,” he said.
He said trial would start on January 21,24,27 to 29.
Earlier, both Banda 75 and Gao 58 pleaded not guilty to the charges of corruption.