RB trial: Court rejects photocopy, Luhila says he knows nothing

RB trial: Court rejects photocopy, Luhila says he knows nothing

A state witness in the case involving former President Rupiah Banda over allegations of abuse of authority of office in the procurement of petroleum from Nigeria has told the court that he does not know anything.

And the court has refused to admit as evidence photocpies which DPP Mutembo Nchito wanted to use to mconvict the former president.

In examination in chief led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito, Former Zambia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria Alex Luhila told Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda that the only thing he knows about the petroleum issue is him escorting Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi Richard Kachingwe to offices of the Nigerian Petroleum Company.

He said he accompanied major Kachingwe to the offices and waited for him in the foyer while Kachingwe entered an office opposite. He said he was not privy to what mission Kachingwe was on.

Earlier Magistrate Banda refused to admit as evidence a photocopy of the letter purported to have been written by Rupiah Banda to late President Yaradua of Nigeria.

In a ruling that was reserved from yesterday, Magistrate Banda said the prosecution has failed to convince the court on the ingredients to be met in order to produce a photocopy .

The letter at the centre of the investigations is alleged to have been found at the house of former Energy Minister Kenneth Konga authored by Rupiah Banda soliciting for fuel from Yaradua.

Meanwhile the defense team this morning also discredited a document producedby Derrick Kasonka a Police Officer who produced the photocopy letter yesterday.

In discrediting the document that itemized documents and goods seized from Konga’s house, the defense team comprising Professor Patrick Mvunga, Erick Silwamba, Lubinda Linyama, Stephen Lungu, Sakwiba Sikota and Ireen Kunda told the court that the listhad so many alterations that had not been counter signed by Konga as per normal procedure.

The defense team said it was therefore possible that someone inserted new items after the search team had left Konga’s house. It was also discovered through cross examination that Kasonka the Police Officer signed on a provision were it was preserved for an Anti Corruption Commission officer.

Kasonka also contradicted himself when he earlier told the court that he was in custody of the documents till yesterday but after cross examination by Professor Patrick Mvunga, Kasonka said he had handed over the documents to the Government Joint Investigation Team in January 2013.

When asked by another defense lawyer Lubinda Linyama whether he had a hand over certificate as a normal procedure, Kasonka who said he had been in the Police Service for twenty three years said it was an omission for him not to prepare a handover certificate of all the documents he collected from Konga’s house.

Trial continues tomorrow as the defense team cross examines Mr. Luhila.

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