Former President Rupiah Banda has pleaded not guilty to a charge of abuse of power during his time in office.
The charges relate to an oil deal signed with Nigeria which prosecutors say was meant to benefit Mr Banda and his family.
“No my Lord, I deny the charge,” Mr Banda told Magistrate Joshua Banda. The court then set April 3, 2013 for next court appearance.
Meanwhile, the charge sheet in court shows that the alleged oil deal was between the Zambian and Nigerian government contrary to what Wynter Kabimba read out in parliament WHEN stripping Mr Banda’s immunity. Kabimba told parliament that the deal was between Zambia, a country and a nigerian company which has not been named up to now.
But the particulars of the offence signed by DPP Mutembo Nchito on his consent to prosecute and presented in court today read word for word that:
‘…Rupiah Bwezani Banda on dates unknown but between 1 may 2008 and 24 September 2011 at Lusaka in the district of Lusaka province of the Republic of Zambia being a person employed in the public service namely President of the Republic of Zambia did abuse the authority of his office by procuring a Nigerian government to government t oil contract in the name of the Republic of Zambia which in fact was meant to benefit himself and his family whereby he instructed his son Henry Chikomeni Banda to determine the destination of the funds which were the proceed of this contract as a result of which instructions the Republic of Zambia did not receive any benefit from the said contract, an act which is arbitrary and prejudicial to the interest of the Republic of Zambia.’
Mr Banda left the court but went round court premisses to offer support to UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and MMD leader Nevers Mumba who are also appearing before different courts today.
He later told people gathered outside that ‘yes there is no doubt that I am being persecuted as you can see there are more presidents (opposition leaders) here. This has never happened in the history of this country.
‘I have confidence in the judiciary and that is why i am here. When this thing started, I was not here but because I have confidence in the judiciary, I am here’.