RB trial in corruption case commences tomorrow

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Commencement of trial in a case in which former President Rupiah Banda is charged with corrupt practices by public officer and concealing gratification of motor vehicles failed to take off in the Lusaka Magistrate Court today because some legal issues have arisen in the matter.

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The issues that have arisen need to be dealt with before trial commences.

Mr. Banda is jointly charged with a representative of Sogecoa Zambia Limited and Construction and Engineering Investment Limited, the two companies from whom the former President is allegedly to have corruptly received motor vehicles as an inducement or reward for himself in return for his favourable treatment of the two companies’ dealings with the government.

In this matter, the two companies will now be required to be represented separately as second and third accused whilst Mr. Banda will be the first accused person respectively.

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When the matter came up for trial before Resident Magistrate Obbister Musukwa today, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito informed the court that the state was ready to proceed with the matter but there were legal issues that had arisen that required the defense counsels for the second and third accused to attend to.

The DPP further said after mutual agreement between the parties, the matter should be adjourned to tomorrow for trial.

And one of Mr. Banda’s defense lawyers, Eric Silwamba said the defense team were also ready to proceed with trial and that as agreed and observed by the state about legal issues affecting the second and third accused, his team was agreeable to an adjournment.

The former President is charged with corrupt practices by public officer contrary to section 19(2) as read with section 40 of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 38 of the laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that in the first count between 1st January 2011 and 30th August 2011 as the President of Zambia, Mr. Banda did corruptly receive ten motor vehicles as gratification from Sogecoa Zambia Limited and Sogecoa Construction and Engineering Investment Limited as an inducement or reward for himself in return for his favourable treatment of the two companies’ dealings with the government.

In the second count it alleged that Banda between 1st January 2011 and 30th August 2011 received 9 motor vehicles which were received as gratification from Sogecoa Zambia Limited and Sogecao Construction and Engineering Investment and concealed the receipt of the said motor vehicles by having them registered in names of people closely connected to him.

And in the third count, it is alleged that Sogecoa Zambia Limited and Sogecoa Construction and Engineering Investment Limited between 1st January 2011 and 30th August 2011 jointly and while acting together with others unknown did corruptly give ten motor vehicles to former President Rupiah Banda as gratification or reward for himself in return for his favourable treatment of the companies in their dealings with government when he was still the republican President.

And Magistrate Musukwa has adjourned the matter to tomorrow, March 19, 2014 for commencement of trial.

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