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Former Zambian president Banda arrested over abuse of authority


20:16, March 25, 2013

LUSAKA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- A joint government investigative team Monday arrested former Zambian President Rupiah Banda and charged him for abuse of authority with regard to an oil deal with a Nigerian firm.

The former Zambian leader was arrested when he appeared before investigators for a third time in the company of his lawyers and has since been released on bond in his own recognizance.

Banda first appeared before investigators last week for questioning on various allegations leveled against him.

Government Joint Investigative Team Spokesperson Namukolo Kasumpa told journalists after almost two hours of interrogations at the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) that the former leader is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

She said the former leader has also been told to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions while he is expected to appear before investigators on April 4 for further questioning with regard to other charges.

"This is the first part of the process. It is an ongoing process," she said.

The former Zambian leader, who looked jovial when he emerged from the interrogations, urged the journalists to keep a tag on his cases, saying he was a law abiding citizen. Sakwiba Sikota, one of his lawyers said the truth will emerge after the conclusion of the case, saying his client was just being persecuted by the state. The arrest of Banda follows the Zambian Parliament's decision to strip his immunity after the government moved a motion on March 9, 2013. Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba, who moved the motion outlined a list of alleged corruption activities the former leader committed during his reign which apart from the Nigerian oil deal, includes money laundering allegations and purchase of campaign materials ahead of the 2011 elections using public resources. Banda ruled Zambia from August 2008 to September 2011 when he handed over power peacefully after losing, and has been lauded as a true democrat.

His successor President Michael Sata embarked on an anti corruption crusade immediately after winning the elections and targeted leaders of the former regime whom he accused of looting public resources. Since then a number of senior officials in Banda's administration such as ministers have been questioned while some have been arrested and are appearing in court. His first born son, Andrew, is also appearing in court after he was accused of soliciting for kickbacks from an Italian construction firm. His other son, Henry, is on the run and he is wanted by law enforcement agencies.

Banda becomes the second leader of this southern African nation to be arraigned before a court of law due to corruption allegations. Late former president Frederick Chiluba spent eight years appearing in court after his immunity was stripped after corruption allegations where leveled against him.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:Yan Meng、Wang Jinxue)

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