lass=”f”>Zambia Daily Mail by Online Editor on 6/29/13
By CHARLES MUSONDA
FORMER President Rupiah Banda has for the third time failed to travel out of Zambia, this time to Tanzania for the Global 2013 Smart Partnership dialogue after State agencies could not release his passport on Friday.
This followed a latest court order allowing him to be out of the country for four days.
On Thursday Lusaka High Court judge Anesi Banda-Bobo ordered the State to release Mr Banda’s passport after the former president filed inter parte summons to vary bond conditions, and for an order for release of the passport pursuant to Section 126(3) of the Criminal Procedure Court.
Justice Banda-Bobo’s ruling read: “The application to vary bail conditions is hereby granted, and the State is directed to release the passport to enable the applicant (Banda) to travel to Tanzania from 28th June to 2nd July, 2013. The passport is to be released into the custody of Mikatazo Wakumelo, one of the sureties who shall accompany him so that he surrenders the passport immediately upon return to the State.
“The government joint investigative team (GJIT) is ordered to release the passport for a period of four days only, from 28th June to 2nd July, 2013.”
But yesterday, Mr Wakumelo, who is also administrative secretary in the Office of the Fourth President, told the Sunday Mail that the passport has not been released.
“We are not travelling because the passport has not been released. He was supposed to travel yesterday [Friday] but when I went to the government joint investigative team, they told me to go to the Registrar General where I was told to go to the Chief Passports Officer. There I was told to go to the Ministry of Home Affairs but the permanent secretary [Willies Manjimela] was not there in the afternoon.
“So we are not travelling. We have not been given the passport and the former President won’t travel to Tanzania,” Mr Wakumelo said.
Last week the government cancelled Mr Banda’s passport because of the on-going investigations against him.
In her ruling, Mrs Justice Banda-Bobo noted that Mr Banda is a former President of Zambia and has roots embedded in the country as he deposed that he has properties.
“He has young children in Zambia. He has, on the basis of the above, not struck me as a flight risk. Further; the invitation is from a serving head of state of Tanzania [Jakaya Kikwete] who is hosting the Global 2013 Smart Partnership dialogue.
“According to the letter of invitation, the dialogue, being what it is, requires personal participation of the applicant. The applicant is on bail. All he is asking for is the variation of the bail conditions by the release of his passport..,” Mrs Justice Banda-Bobo said.
She said she has taken cognisance of the fact that even though Mr Banda is seeking variation by the release of his passport, the holding onto the passport by the GJIT was not one of the bail/bond conditions, the fact which was not disputed by the State.
This is the third time Mr Banda has been blocked from flying out of the country. In June this year, immigrations officers stopped him from leaving for South Africa to attend the 2013 African Presidential Roundtable at the invitation of the Boston University African Presidential Centre.
He has since commenced contempt of court proceedings against the immigration officers, contending that they acted against the court order that allowed him to travel out of the country.
Earlier in April 2013, Mr Banda was stopped from attending the inauguration of Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta.