Lawyers representing former president Rupiah Banda have complained over the frequent adjournments to commence of trial in the case where the ex-leader has been arrested for the charge of gratification.
In April, president Banda was arrested and charged in connection with the concealment of gratification involving nine trucks valued at K 471 million.
When the matter came up today July 8, 2013, state prosecutor Dennis Simwinga informed magistrate Obister Musukwa that Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo Nchito, who conspicuously was missing in court, has not yet issued instructions for commencement of trial.
“The DPP has not yet issued instructions to proceed with trial but the instructions are that we proceed for another mention possibly 20 days from now,” he said.
But Lawyer Eric Silwamba said that the 20 days period was too long considering that when the Banda was arrested, the government had stripped Banda of his immunity and told Zambians that they had concluded their investigations and were now ready to prosecute the former leader.
“Our concern is the delay in issuing relevant instructions, your honor, before our client was arrested there were issues of removing his immunity. The state had said that time that they had concluded their investigations and what remained was prosecution. We therefore can’t understand the difficult in issuing the instructions and we find the period of 20 days requested by the state to be too long,” said Silwamba.
However magistrate Musukwa agreed with the state and set July 30 as the date for possible mention.
Below is a statement issued by Namukolo Kasumpa on April 15 when Banda was arrested:
Government Joint Investigations Team has today formally charged and arrested Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda former president of the Republic of Zambia in connection with the concealment of gratification involving nine (9) light trucks valued at K471 million.
Mr. Banda has been charged with Concealing of Gratification Contrary to Section 36 of the Anti-Corruption Act No 38 of 2010.
Particulars of the Offence are that Mr. Banda on dates unknown but between the 1st day of January 2011 and 30th day of August 2011 received nine (9) motor vehicles all valued at K471,000,000 which Property was obtained as gratification from Sogecao Zambia Ltd a subsidiary of Anui Foreign Economic Construction Company, A company contracted to construct the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, and concealed the receipt of the said motor vehicles by having them registered in the names of other people connected to him.
Mr. Rupiah B Banda has been released on police bond in his own recognizance sum of KR500, 000 and two working sureties. He will appear in court on Tuesday 30th of April 2013.