RUPIAH Banda’s oil deal case is not over because he will soon be tasting real justice, says Nigerian Civil Society Network Against Corruption chairman Olanrewaju Suraju.
Rupiah Banda was questionably acquitted last week but nothing has been said about where the money went.
And Suraju says Zambians are facing a worse regime under President Edgar Lungu and will suffer more than they endured under Banda. Commenting on Banda’s acquittal last week by the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court, Suraju said: “The record of President Lungu will surpass the inglorious regime of Banda on corruption and human rights abuses.” “We have received the news of Mr Banda’s acquittal, though not unexpected, with trepidation. Mr Rupiah Banda will soon be testing real justice as demanded by the people of Nigeria who were defrauded in that oil deal. His celebration will not be for long and let his dancing be in the interim,” Suraju warned through a press statement.
He said his organisation would seek accountability in the matter using international mechanisms. “At the level of CSNAC, this is the required tonic to pursue justice and accountability through international mechanisms. The Zambian government and by extension the judiciary have, by this decision, in the face or overwhelming evidence before the court, demonstrated inability, incapacity and lack of political will to prosecute obvious cases of breach of trust, abuse of office and international money laundering. This is a threat to international peace and Zambia’s prosperity,” Suraju said. He said the PF government was reversing Michael Sata’s anti-corruption fight achievements. “This travesty of justice affirms the unfortunate reversal of achievements of late president Sata, epitomised by President Lungu, in his bid to repay his several benefactors.”
“Clearly, Zambians have been left with a worse regime under President Lungu and they will suffer more than they endured under Mr Rupiah Banda.” Suraju wondered why the ruling party in Zambia was celebrating the acquittal of a man it dragged to court. “Most shocking also, is how the ruling party in Zambia, the PF, is celebrating the fact that the courts found Mr Rupiah Banda without a case to answer. But this is the party under Sata that removed [Banda’s] immunity and took him to court, so this confirms that the Lungu administration is not interested in recovering the money that was stolen in the Nigerian government-to-government oil deal.” he wondered. He further observed that the executive arm of government was eroding the integrity of the judiciary in Zambia. “The executive arm of the Zambian government is consistently eroding the integrity of the judiciary, betraying the people’s trust in the judicial system and making mockery of accountability in government,” said Suraju.