RB to be questioned again as he challenges removal of his immunity

RB to be questioned again as he challenges removal of his immunity

FORMER President Rupiah Banda is tomorrow expected to appear before the Government Joint Investigations Team (GJIT) for another interview on more trumped up charges.

The former Head of State’s immunity was removed by Parliament recently following Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba’s motion in the House.

Mr Banda, who ruled Zambia between 2008 and 2011, was last week arrested and charged by the GJIT with abuse of authority regarding the procurement of oil from Nigeria to the tune of US$2.5 million. He is currently on bail.

According to the law enforcement agencies, the procurement of oil from the West African country was not beneficial to the Zambian Government.

In an interview yesterday, GJIT spokesperson Namukolo Kasumpa said Mr Banda would appear tomorrow before the law enforcement agencies for a second interview on continued investigations over alleged corruption.

“At the moment, there is nothing that has changed yet, the issue still remains the same that Mr Banda is expected to appear before GJIT on Thursday for a second interview,” she said.

Ms Kasumpa, however, could not divulge details pertaining to Mr Banda’s second interview tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mr Banda yesterday submitted to the court that Parliament should not have debated the issue of lifting his immunity because there is a precedent already set by the National Assembly Speaker against debating matters that were already before the court.

Mr Banda said based on the precedent that had already been set by the Speaker, Patrick Matibini, the House should not have resolved to debate the lifting of his immunity as the matter was subjudice.

He said Dr Matibini was on record as having told the House on several occasions that it was not in order to debate a matter that was before the courts of law as it offended the doctrine of subjudice.

He said in his affidavit in reply to an affidavit in opposition to ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review deposed by Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Mbewe who had said Mr Banda’s filing of his petition was to prevent Parliament from debating the motion, which statement was incorrect.

Mr Banda said Dr Matibini had on various dates and occasions made rulings stopping members of the House from debating matters which were in court and should have used the same precedent to stop the debate on lifting of his immunity.

“That I verily believe that based on the precedent set by the honourable Mr Speaker, the House should not have resolved to debate the issue of my immunity as the matter was subjudice” he said.

Mr Banda, of villa number 3, plot 2758 Leopards Hill road in Lusaka, stated that on March 19, 2013, he filed in the principal registry of the High Court an affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review.

On March 26, 2013, Ms Mbewe, on behalf of the respondent, filed a response in opposition of the affidavit.

Mr Banda further said the averment in paragraph four of Ms Mbewe’s affidavit in opposition said that the former President had filed his petition to prevent the National Assembly from debating the motion, which statement was incorrect because he filed the same to assert his Constitutional rights.

“That the averment in paragraph 7 of the affidavit in opposition is incorrect as the honourable Speaker has on numerous occasions ruled that it was not in order to debate a matter that was before the courts of law as this offended the doctrine of subjudice.” Mr Banda said.

He cited rulings of Dr Matibini on November 7, 2012, November 13, 2012, and November 16, 2013 and on other dates where he had ruled that it was not in order for the house to debate matters that were already before the courts.

He said one such matter was where a member had risen on a point of order wondering whether another member was in order to debate a Zamtel matter which was before court to which Dr Matibini, as the chairperson of the House, had stated that “could the honourable member debating, please, take that point of order into account as you debate. Debating that matter is subjudice.”

Mr Banda wants the court to quash Parliament’s decision to lift his immunity.

 

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