Former President Rupiah Banda today appeared before the Government Joint Investigative Team (GJIT) for questioning on allegedly corrupt activities he may have committed when he was in office between 2008 and 2011.
This follows Friday’s decision by Parliament to remove his immunity from legal prosecution.
Mr. Banda’s lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Patrick Mvunga and Ireen Kunda arrived at the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) offices at 09:50 hours in readiness for the arrival of their client.
Mr. Banda, who arrived at the DEC offices at 10:30 hours in the company of his Aid de camp (ADC), looked calm and jovial.
Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and Movement for Multiparty for Democracy (MMD) cadres caused commotion upon Mr. Banda’s arrival at DEC offices.
MMD Members of Parliaments (MPs), who were present to show solidarity, were denied entry into the offices by DEC and police officers who were manning the gate.
The MPs included Brian Chituwo, Dora Siliya, Geoffrey Lungwangwa, Maxwell Mwale and Faustina Sinyangwe.
Others who were present at the offices are MMD president Nevers Mumba, his Director of Communications Muhabi Lungu, MMD’s Deputy National Secretary Chembe Nyangu, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s special advisor William Banda and Mr. Banda’s son James.
The investigations took three and half hours, a situation which saw MMD MPs and cadres getting tired of singing songs solidarity songs in favour of Mr. Banda.
Police officers, who were clad in their riot gear, kept a close eye on the cadres who seemed unruly and singing provocative songs to state security.
After questioning, Mr. Banda came out of DEC offices at 14:30 hours and still looking calm as ever.
He then asked police to allow him have a short interview with members of the press.
And speaking to Journalists, the former head of state thanked all the MPs and senior MMD party officials that were present to support him.
“I ask you to remain calm. We have a duty and responsibility to keep peace even under provocation,” Mr. Banda said.
Mr. Banda noted that his case would be a prolonged affair and that he was willing to go to court to answer to the charges that have been leveled against him.
“It is necessary that we do not burn out ourselves in this thing affecting me. May the good Lord bless you all,” he said.
On Friday, Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba moved a motion in parliament to remove Mr. Banda’s immunity.
Mr. Kabimba said during his tenure of office, Mr. Banda allegedly misappropriated funds in respect of crude oil contracts with a Nigerian petroleum firm.
He also told parliament that further investigations revealed that Mr. Banda and his family in 2011, spent more than K20 million on the purchase of election campaign materials.
Mr. Kabimba further told the House that Mr. Banda disbursed funds through his Senior Private Secretary and the MMD Campaign Center Manager amounting to K60 million paid in three installments to each MP in all the 150 constituencies.
The investigations against Mr. Banda continue tomorrow at 10:00 hours at the DEC offices.