The Nigerian star witness brought by DPP Mutembo Nchito to testify against former president Rupiah Banda in the oil deal case Tueaday morning broke down in tears in the witness box forcing the court to adjourn for about 10 minutes to allow him recover.
Before Lusaka resident magistrate Joshua Banda was SARB’s Energy Limited managing director of Nigeria, Akpan Ekpene, 46, who could not contain himself in corroborating the evidence he was giving during cross-examination by RB’s lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Prof. Patrick Mvunga, Ireen Kunda, and others.
Asked to explain the US$260,000 he claimed to have personally given former president Rupiah Banda in 2008, Mr. Akpene said he never saw anything wrong in assisting the then ruling MMD party and that the money was solicited by Maj. Richard Kachingwe.
During cross-examination, Mr. Akpene was shown part of the speech delivered to parliament by Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba during the removal of RB’s immunity where he alleged that the Zambian government paid US2.5 million towards the oil deal that was meant to benefit Mr. Banda and his children.
But Mr. Akpene denied ever receiving any amount of money from the Zambia government as alleged by Kabimba in parliament.
He explained that the said amount was actually his money paid to the Nigerian Oil Petroleum Corporation (NOPC) paid by every businessman who wants to export oil from the country as surety.
He said he has actually since been refunded that amount and no body ever lost any many in the purported oil deal with the Zambian government.
Mr. Akpene later broke down in tears claiming he felt bad that he was being paraded in that manner in court to testify against Mr. Banda who he said he had high regard for him.
“I am not testifying because I am hurt, I have high regard for that man and how I wished he had won elections because I would not be here standing”, he told a fully parked court.
The court later adjourned briefly to allow Mr. Akpene to cool down as DPP Mutembo Nchito looked at his witness in disbelief.
On resumption, Mutembo started re-examining his witness on a few points of clarification before he applied for an adjournment to Wednesday when he will bring another witness since he has finished with the two star witnesses Mr. Akpene and Maj. Kachingwe.
The court was supposed to sit the whole day but Mutembo requested that he was not ready with another witness today and asked that he asks the investigators if another witness would be available tomorrow.
When asked how many witnesses he still wanted to call, Mutembo informed the court that he only had about four witnesses maximum to bring to court.
Hearing continues tomorrow, subject to availability of witnesses from the DPP’s office.