RB defends Kunda over K3.5 billion legal fees

The following press statement was sent to the Watchdog by president Banda’s press aide Dickson Jere on Friday  evening:

PRESIDENT BANDA RESPONDS TO PF LEADER

LUSAKA, January 22, 2010 – His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia Friday responded to a letter by Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata in which the opposition leader asked the President to investigative His Honour the Vice President Hon. George Kunda, SC, MP for impropriety. Mr. Sata alleged that His Honour the Vice President through his Legal Firm by the name and style of Messrs George Kunda and Company did receive payments from the Government of Zambia for legal costs when there was no order for costs granted by the Court in a case that occurred over 15 years ago.

President Banda has thus responded to Mr. Sata with the following observations and facts:

  1. The President thanked Mr. Sata for having thought it prudent to write to him to get clarification on this matter.  He said leaders should always engage in constant dialogue in order for them to resolve the various challenges that the nation faces.
  2. The President urged Mr. Sata and other opposition leaders to feel free and seek clarification from him on any matter which they feel ought to be clarified.
  3. However, President Banda expressed concern over the manner in which Mr. Sata wrote his letters to him. He noted that the PF leader had a tendency of leaking his letters, including the recent one, to the press before they reached his office. The current letter received wide publicity in the media before it even reached the President’s office. President Banda described the actions of the PF leader as not only regrettable, but also calculated to embarrass his government. The President said that was not a genuine request for clarification.
  4. President Banda stressed that the Zambian people deserved so much more from their leaders than cheap political rhetoric. In view of the PF leader’s conduct with respect to the manner in which he publicly circulated his letter, the President said that he found it unavoidable to equally make his response to Mr. Sata’s letter public.
  5. President Banda informed Mr. Sata that he had conducted a thorough review and investigation of the various allegations that the latter made against the Vice President in his letter. He said that his investigations have revealed that the Court did grant an Order for costs.  The determination of the actual quantum of the costs was the subject of verification by the Court through the taxing master by way of a legal procedure known as taxation of costs. The record of the Court proceeding relating to the taxation of the costs are public records and are, therefore, available for scrutiny.
  6. The President said that his findings are in clear contrast to Mr. Sata’s allegation that there was no order by the Court granting costs.  The correct position is that there have in fact been subsequent subsidiary orders as to costs by the Court.
  7. President Banda has further revealed that the Court case that gives rise to the allegations of the payments of the costs in question arose 15 years ago when Mr. Sata himself was in Government. He, therefore, found it extremely unfortunate that Mr. Sata would raise this issue now to deliberately give a false impression to the people of Zambia that this is a new matter which has arisen for the first time during his tenure of office.
  8. Furthermore, the President has noted with concern that it has become the norm to associate his Government with all the wrong things that were done before his assumption of office.  He said that he found this state of affairs to be extremely unfair and regrettable.  In the interest of fairness, President Banda said he would request that Mr. Sata and other leaders in the nation to hold his Government accountable for issues that have occurred or arisen during his tenure as President.
  9. For the record, President Banda said he wishes to inform Mr. Sata that His Honour the Vice President, in compliance with the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Practice Rules of 2002 made pursuant to the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act, Chapter 30 of the Laws of Zambia, ceased practicing in Messrs. George Kunda & Company in 2002 when he was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

Issued by

Dickson Jere

SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT

PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

Earlier this week, Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata wrote to President Rupiah Banda demanding thorough investigations into the alleged payment of K3.5 billion to vice president George Kunda’s law firm.

In a letter to president Banda dated 18th January, 2010 and copied to  Kunda,  Sata said that this was in the case of Development Bank of Zambia vs. Sun Pharmaceutics limited which was represented by Kaunda’s law firm, the court made an order to the effect that parties to the proceedings shall bear their own costs.

Sata however claimed in his letter that  contrary to the court order, the Ministry of Finance recently paid to George Kunda and Company from the treasury the sum of K3.5 billion as legal costs.

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