Govt. won’t tamper with RB’s enjoyment of rights-Sakeni

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Chief Government Spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni has said government has and will do nothing that subtracts from former President Rupiah Banda’s enjoyment of his rights and privileges as provided in the law.

Mr. Sakeni, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said government was strictly following the rule of law in dealing with the former President’s suspected wrongdoing while he was in office.

He said Mr. Banda, like any other citizen, in his situation, was enjoying human rights and freedoms such as legal representation including the assumption that he is innocent until proven guilty.

In a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka today, Mr. Sakeni noted that Mr. Banda was also still enjoying all the benefits and privileges that go with the status of his office.

He was reacting to Transparency International Zambia’s (TIZ) suggestions that government’s cancellation of Mr. Banda’s passport was a violation of his entitlement to the family as reported in the media.

He noted that it should be appreciated that Mr. Banda was currently undergoing investigations and prosecution for suspected wrongdoing following the removal of his immunity by parliament.

Mr. Sakeni said the process of investigating and prosecuting Mr. Banda entitles the state and law enforcement agencies to take certain actions and decisions such as the recent cancellation of his passport if and when such a move is deemed necessary.

He stated that it should also be appreciated that by law, the passport, whether diplomatic or ordinary, remains the property of the state which can be withdrawn or cancelled if circumstances so warrant.

The Chief Government Spokesperson further noted that it was government’s conviction that by its role and status, TIZ was well placed to understand and appreciate government’s sincerity, objectivity and professionalism with which it was handling the crusade against corruption for the former Head of State.

Mr. Sakeni said there was no hidden agenda against the former President or any of the citizens in the ongoing fight against corruption.

He added that government has an inescapable duty to do what was right by bringing before the law the citizens suspected of wrongdoing to account for their actions.