‘I gave RB $260,000’ cash to Rupiah Banda – Akpan Ekpene

Rupiah Bwezani Banda RB
Rupiah Bwezani Banda RB
Rupiah Bwezani Banda
Rupiah Bwezani Banda

A WITNESS yesterday told the Lusaka magistrate’s court that he personally handed over US$260,000 cash to former President Rupiah Banda to fund his presidential campaign in 2008.
SARB’s Energy Limited managing director, Akpan Ekpene testified that his company lifted six loads of cargo of oil from Nigeria on behalf of the Zambian Government.
In his testimony yesterday, Mr Ekpene told the court that in 2011, he again gave Banda, through his son Henry, $500,000 to boost his election campaign.
This was after Banda requested for $1 million advance payment from the government to government oil deal.
Mr Ekpene told chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda that he also helped Banda with printed MMD campaign materials which he brought from Nigeria to Zambia.
This is in a matter in which Banda, 75, is charged with abuse of authority of office relating to procuring a government-to-government oil deal between Zambia and Nigeria.
Mr Ekpene, 46, told the court that he visited Zambia several times when asked by one of the defence lawyers Lubinda Linyama and that his major purpose of visiting Zambia on the second trip was to support Banda in his election campaign.
He said on that trip he travelled to Zambia with Banda’s campaign materials such as t-shirts which were engraved with an MMD logo.
He said he also carried with him $260, 000 in cash which he entered with into the country without declaring it at the airport because he was not given a declaration form by immigration officials to sign.
He said he handed over the said money to Banda at Government House for his use in the 2008 campaigns and stated that it was a private arrangement with the former President.
He said, however, that it was not an offence to fund a political party in his country.
He said he made the donation to Banda because Major Richard Kachingwe had allegedly insisted that they needed to support him to win the elections.
When asked whether Banda asked for the donation, Mr Ekpene said “his Excellency received the donation, but his Excellency did not solicit for the donation.’’
Trial continues today.