Testifying before Magistrate Joshua Banda this morning, Mr. Konga told the court that he did accompany Mr. Banda, in his then capacity as Energy Minister, on an official visit to Nigeria when the Oil deal was being initiated.
Mr. Konga of House No. 50 E Sable Road in Kabulonga, Lusaka, has told the court that while in Nigeria Mr. Banda and the then President of Nigeria Umaru Yar’Adua did hold a meeting where Mr. Banda requested that Nigeria supplies Zambia with Oil.
He narrated to the court that the request for Nigeria to start supplying oil to Zambia was done in good faith as at the time Zambia was in dire need of fuel supply to smoothly run the government operations.
Mr. Konga testified that after the meeting of the two heads of state, he was instructed by President Banda to write to the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum as follow-up in implementing what was discussed by the two heads of state.
He has told the Court that upon realizing that it had taken longer than he expected for the Nigerian government to respond, he asked President Banda to allow then Zambian Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria Richard Kachingwe to take over the negotiations on behalf of the Zambia government.
Mr. Konga disclosed to the court that from the time Mr. Banda allowed Major Kachingwe to take over the negotiations, he had not heard any development concerning the request of the Oil deal not until after one year when he had gone back to Nigeria for a private business visit.
Mr. Konga says in his second visit to Nigeria after one year, he had learnt that there was still no response from the Nigeria government over Zambia’s request but that some Nigerians led by Mr. Akpan Ekpene whom Major Kachingwe had found were willing to assist Zambia to get a prompt response from the Nigerian government over the request to start supplying Oil to Zambia.
Mr. Konga says he then informed then President Banda who agreed to that the Nigerian man Mr. Ekpene formally begins speaking on behalf of the Zambia government to quicken the process of getting a response from the Nigerian government.
The former Minister further told the court that after Mr. Ekpene took over the negotiations, he did not hear any further development about the request not until Major Kachingwe disclosed to him at the MMD convention that was held in Kabwe that the Nigerian government had agreed to the request of supplying Zambia with Oil.
Mr. Konga was being led in examination in-chief by the prosecution team led by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito.
The matter has been adjourned to October 21st this year for continued trial.
Magistrate Banda has also set September 16th as date for mention.