A WITNESS May 23rd told a Lusaka magistrate’s court that he arrested former republican president Rupiah Banda because investigations established that he abused his authority by engaging in an oil deal for his private benefit.
Friday Tembo, an arresting officer from the Government Joint Investigations Team (GJIT), said that he charged Banda with the offence because there was evidence to show that he had allegedly abused his office.
Mr Tembo said that Banda abused his authority by committing the Zambian Government into an oil transaction when the deal did not benefit the people of Zambia.
Banda, 75, is facing one count of abuse of authority of office regarding a US$2.5 million oil deal which the State say did not benefit Zambians.
Particulars of the offence are that between May 1, 2008 and September 24, 2011 in Lusaka, Banda, while president, abused the authority of his office.
Testifying before chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda yesterday, Mr Tembo said after analysing documents relating to the contract of the crude oil deal between Zambia and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) he interviewed relevant witnesses.
Mr Tembo said on March 18, 2012, he warned and cautioned Banda about the offence but he opted to remain silent and that on March 25, 2012, he made up his mind to charge and arrest Banda.
Mr Tembo said during examination-in-chief led by Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito, that the government to government oil contract was obtained by the Zambian Government when in fact the intention was for private gain by Banda and his immediate family.
He said investigations also revealed that the deal was being done in secrecy, as Banda did not want people to know about it as was evident in the revelations that at the Ministry of Energy, only the minister was aware of it.
Mr Tembo said it was for that reason that Banda used former MMD National secretary Richard Kachingwe as an agent of the contract and was the one who was paying for Major Kachingwe’s expenses.
He, however, said during cross-examination that he did not know how much money the SARB energy has remitted on behalf of the Zambian Government into the NNPC account because his investigations did not involve theft but were on the abuse of authority by Banda.
Mr Tembo said in May last year while Banda’s case was already in court, he travelled to Nigeria with Major Kachingwe who was invited for interviews as the Nigerian government was also investigating the oil contract.
He told the court that oil was lifted from Nigeria and that the money was paid to an account in Singapore held by a company known as Lexora, which allegedly belonged to Banda’s son Henry. Trial continues on July 15, 2014.
Times of Zambia