By DELPHINE ZULU and PERPETUAL
THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has allowed the production of documents by the prosecution team in a matter in which former President Rupiah Banda is facing a charge of abuse of authority.
This is in a case in which the former president is alleged to have procured a US$2.5 million government-to-government oil contract with Nigeria on behalf of Zambia but was meant to benefit himself and his family.
In his ruling yesterday, Chief Resident Magistrate, Joshua Banda said the documents in question satisfied relevant authorities on the production of documents in court to form part of evidence.
Mr Banda, however, rejected two of the documents, including the paper containing telephone numbers written by Banda’s son Henry with three mobile numbers as well as a letter from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on offers of terms and agreements, on grounds that they did not meet the requirements of the Law.
The magistrate stressed that those that had qualified for admission shall be examined and analysed in light of the entire evidence to assess their credibility and worthiness.
Banda, through his lawyers, had asked the court to reject all the documents submitted in court by the prosecution, accusing them of not laying required foundation as accepted by the sections of the Law.
The defence accused the prosecution of having taken the search casually even after travelling to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito has insisted on prosecuting former president Banda. He said he is the only DPP and the Zambian constitution gives only the DPP power to prosecute criminal matters.
But Banda told magistrate Obister Musukwa that he was living in fear of intimidation because Mr Nchito’s business partner Fred M’membe had through the editorial comments published in the Post newspaper already concluded that he was corrupt, while his trials were still in progress.
Mr Nchito wondered who, in his absence, could prosecute Banda because the matter before court was of utmost public interest and involved a senior citizen who is former head of State.
This is in a matter in which Banda, 76, is facing two counts of soliciting gratification relating to 19 motor vehicles from two Chinese companies.
He is jointly charged with the two Chinese companies but Banda has raised preliminary issues asking Mr Musukwa to transfer his case to the high court for determination on whether Mr Nchito could prosecute him because he ‘hates’ him and is biased against him.
Banda has submitted through his defence lawyers comprising of Professor Patrick Mvunga, Sakwiba Sikota, Irene Kunda, Lubinda Linyama and Makebi Zulu that he feels threatened and intimidated to be prosecuted by Mr Nchito.