The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has cleared the air regarding the topic of lifting former President Rupiah Banda’s immunity saying the former head of state can be probed even while he holds onto his immunity.
LAZ President James Banda, however, said in order to lift the former head of states immunity, a prima facie case must first be established by investigating officers or else the whole exercise would be futile.
LAZ’s legal clarifies the question as to whether the former President could not be interviewed by security officers.
“We must state here that immunity as provided by the Constitution is obviously against prosecution and not investigation,” Mr. Banda said on LAZ behalf, “Once credible investigations are carried out and it emerges that there is prima facie evidence of wrong doing then at that point Parliament may be moved on a motion for the lifting of the immunity.”
Recently, Mr. Banda was summoned to appear before a graft probe team but he defied the order pleading immunity as a former head of state.
LAZ also says “the lifting of the immunity of a former head of state is not without precedent in Zambia” referring to former President Chiluba whose immunity was lifted to pave way for prosecution in 2002.
The LAZ President advised the government to consider certain points such as problems identified in the justice system and whether the investigation and prosecution systems enjoy independence and credibility.
Chief government spokesman Kennedy Sakeni when contacted said LAZ like any other club had a right to express an opinion.
Mr. Sakeni said Government is happy that the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity has generated public interest.
“Some people are for the idea of the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity while others are against. All in all, it’s their opinion,” Mr Sakeni said.