To buy time, magistrates say RB should ask High court to release his passport

Lusaka Chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda has dismissed an application by former President Rupiah Banda’s lawyers to have his passport released, stating that the application was wrongly before the magistrate court.

Magistrate Banda ruled that the application was supposed to be made before the High court.

The truth and precedence has always been that the court hearing the matter decides whether to release the passport or not. This was the case even in the Fredrick Chiluba cases. See here

And another magistrate where the former president is charged with concealing of gratification under the Anti Corruption Act, Principal Resident Magistrate Obsitter Musukwa ruled that the former president should apply for the release of his passport through the High court.

Magistrate Musukwa told the court that only the high court is empowered to vary the jurisdiction.

And speaking to journalists immediately after the ruling defence lawyer Sakwiba Sikota said the next move will be made known after talking to their client.

President Banda is scheduled to travel to South Africa on the special invitation by Boston University by midday tomorrow.

The behaviour by the two magistrates is clearly meant to make sure the former president does not travel as it is very unlikely that the High Court will sit and determine the matter by tomorrow midday.

Unless a democratic judge is cornered tonight otherwise tomorrow they will all be ‘busy’ or late for work.

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