Rupiah says immunities of thieving former presidents should not be removed

Rupiah Banda, who is facing criminal charges of theft, says ‘the demon’ of removing immunities from former presidents should stop because it was eroding the respect that the office of President was enjoying.

Rupiah is facing criminal charges of theft he is said to have engaged himself in while entrusted with the leadership of Zambia.

But Rupiah believes that it is wrong to prosecute people like him because it divides the nation.

Rupiah says removing the immunity of former presidents is retrogressive and an abuse of process because it abrogated the principle of natural justice and presumption of innocence.

The immunity of presidents is meant to protect presidents from trivial lawsuits and criminal charges but certainly not meant to hide crimes against humanities like the ones Rupiah is facing.

Rupiah is facing massive corruption charges. It is Rupiah Banda and his son Henry who are accused of stealing from the poor people of Zambia. Prosecuting the suspects cannot divide the country. It is theft of public funds that is wrong for the country. Prosecuting thieves is good for the country. It is people like Rupiah who erode the respect of former presidents. Rupiah should not try to link his case to Edgar Lungu. Lungu’s time will come. Lungu’s immunity will either be removed or not depending on how he conducts himself. It does not matter who will take over from Lungu, because as long as the next president believes in combating crime, and there will be enough evidence to show that Lungu was stealing when he was president, he will have to face the law.

So far, Lungu has committed enough crimes to warranty his immunity being lifted.        In fact Lungu is scared of appointing a mister of defence because he fears his crimes would be uncovered there. By the way Lungu should not cheat himself for a minute that the people he is surrounding himself will stand with him when that time comes. They will not. We know Zambian politicians. It will probably be the Watchdog that will stand by himThey are only after money. Right now they know that aligning themselves to Lungu guarantees access to state resources. That is the only thing drawing them to Lungu. Once Lungu is no longer in Sate House, they will cheer and support the person who will call for Lungu’s arrest. We know these things. Who removed Chiliuba”s immunity? Was it someone from the opposition or one of his juniors? How many of those who were stealing with Chiluba stood by him? Is it not true that even people Chiluba entrusted with the same stolen money by hiding it in their bank accounts later told him that ‘I do not know what you are talking about?’

What about Lungu, did he object to the lifting of Rupiah’s immunity? Or did he at least refrain from voting in favour of lifting the immunity so as to register his disapproval?

Was it the UPND or the PF that lifted Rupiah’s immunity?

Was it not Given Lubinda, Lungu’s minister who said ‘I am going to drink wine to celebrate the removal of Rupiah’s Immunity? What does Lubinda think now about Rupiah’s immunity and how Lungu is working with Rupiah? There are not permanent enemies in politics? Really, So it was about enmity not desire to protect Zambia’s resources?

We know Lungu is extremely scared of the possibility of his immunity being lifted. And indeed, scared he must be because we can foresee that happening. It is just a matter of time. We shall wait like we have always done. Right now let him cheat himself by thinking that he is safe because he is guarded by the police. Time however is ticking slowly but surely.

What about Rupiah Banda himself, was it not his own State House staff who testified against him when the time to account came? We heard and we have proof that some of his state house staff secretly provided information to the police in exchange for them not to be arrested?

Lungu should not cheat himself for once that he will be safe after he leaves office as long as he steals or protects thieves.

As for Rupiah, his cases are well established. Below is what Rupiah is facing in court.

 

THE NIGERIAN CONNECTION

The Nigerian government under Late President Umar Yar’Adua offered to assist Zambia in her state of oil shortages and developmental challenges, according to CSNAC, under a bilateral arrangement, with allocation of crude oil to the country on favourable terms through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

“Mr. Banda was then the President of Zambia. Though, the agreement was reached in principle in 2008, the final offer letter was issued by Crude Oil Marketing Division of NNPC on 21st March, 2011, for a renewable One Year NNPC crude Oil contract for 20,000 barrels per day effective from 1st May, 2011.

“The Zambian government, under Mr. Banda, officially appointed and authorized a Nigerian Energy company to trade on her behalf under the offer. Between August, 2011 and April, 2012 four cargos of 3,790,706 barrels of crude oil, with a net worth of $438,887,268.83, were duly paid for and lifted on behalf of the Zambian government by the appointed operator.

“The Zambian Ex-President’s son Henry, in connivance with his father, hurriedly registered a company called IEXORA International Limited in Hong Kong with a Barclays Bank account in Singapore. Mr. Banda then directed the Nigerian partner to pay proceeds of the oil sales to IEXORA while his son operated under a fake email name of Elwood Fairbanks in the deal.”

Almost $1 million meant for Zambia’s development was allegedly diverted into the account opened by Mr. Banda and his son.

On the defeat of Mr. Banda at the polls by late President Sata in 2011, the Zambia DPP office undertook a comprehensive investigation of the transaction, under which Mr. Nchito visited Nigeria on a Mutual Legal Assistance request to gather evidence and information for the purpose of prosecuting Mr. Banda and his son on the offences of money laundering, abuse of office and fraudulent convention in Zambia.

On the conclusion of its investigation, Zambia’s DPP instituted a case against Mr. Banda and his son, Henry Banda in Zambia.

.The prosecutor had already closed his case, with the Nigerian partner in the crude oil transactions appearing in the Zambian Court as a prosecution witness, before the sudden death of President Sata in office.

Mr. Henry Banda had on the commencement of trial escaped to South Africa as a fugitive. With the emergency of President Edgar Lungu, all tricks were deployed to stampede the proceedings by Mr. Banda, with the active collaboration of members of President Lungu’s kitchen cabinet. This resulted in the ominous harassment and persecution of the DPP, who is constitutionally charged with duty of prosecuting state matters.”

CSNAC stated in its petition that it was requesting the EFCC to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into this “obvious case of fraudulent diversion, money laundering and mismanagement of funds to ensure that all those persons found culpable are brought to book.”

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