Magistrate refuses to refer Rupiah Banda’s case to the high court

former President Rupiah Banda
former President Rupiah Banda

Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda has refused to refer to the High Court the case in which former president Rupiah Banda is charged with theft of  $11 million through an oil contract with the
Nigerian government.

Banda wanted the High Court to determine some constitutional issues.

The former president’s defense lawyers had argued that their client’s case  raised constitutional issues that needed to be clarified in the High court.

But Magistrate Banda ruled that there were no constitutional issues in the matter to warrant referring the case to the High court.

He said the matter should commerce today in the afternoon.

After the ruling the former president’s lawyers sought an adjournment to allow their client adequate time to digest ruling and determine the next course of action.

Defense lawyer Sakwiba Sikota pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter stating that the constitution provides that the accused be given adequate time to digest the ruling.

Earlier in court another defense lawyer Patrick Mvunga argued that the charge against their client needed reasonable time to digest the ruling.

But Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito submitted that the matter proceeds without further delay as it had been delayed for too long.

Magistrate Banda has since adjourned the matter to this afternoon for plea and setting of the trial dates.

Banda is accused of stealing about $11 million through an oil contract with the Nigerian government and having the money routed to his son’s account.