The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) will in the next few days restore former president Rupiah Banda’s immunity from prosecution.
The PF wants to make sure Rupiah Banda does not face any more charges of corruption and that there is no appeal in the case he was recently ‘acquitted’.
The other week, a Magistrate’s Court acquitted Banda of abuse of authority of office involving a US$2.5 million government-to-government oil deal between Zambia and Nigeria.
Banda was arrested after being stripped of his immunity by the same ruling PF under late Michael Sata (below).
But after Sata died, magistrate Joshua Banda who was hearing the criminal case was immediately promoted. He is now Ndola High Court deputy registrar. Rupiah became the god father of PF.
Very few people were therefore surprised when magistrate Banda acquitted Rupiah Banda.
When Banda was acquitted he wept fuelling comments from some people the weeping was due to his guilty.
Ndola High Court deputy registrar Joshua Banda, sitting as Lusaka chief resident magistrate, said the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant placing the former President on his defence.
Nothing was said about the US$2.5 million or where it went.
Banda was 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. He was also warned and cautioned over his dubious role in the sale of Baobab land in Makeni.
But now his immunity will be restored meaning that the money has been lost forever and he will not be investigated for other crimes.
Parliament will soon rubberstamp the restoration of Banda’s immunity.