RB instructed me to finalise oil deal – Konga

Rupiah Banda
Rupiah Banda

FORMER Energy minister, Kenneth Konga has told the court that he was instructed by former President Rupiah Banda to finalise the oil deal after he had earlier discussed it with the late Nigerian President Umaru Yara’Adua.
Mr Konga said he followed up the matter by engaging the Nigerian line minister whom he wrote letters to and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to ensure the contract was implemented.
This is in a matter in which Banda, 75, is facing one count of abuse of authority of office relating to the procurement of a government-to-government oil contract between Zambia and Nigeria.
Testifying before Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda, Mr Konga said the Government joint investigations team seized a lot of documents from his house including a letter written by Banda to his Nigerian counterpart involving the same matter.
Mr Konga, 55, of Lusaka’s Kabulonga’s area testifying in examination-in-chief by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito said after writing letters, he waited for some time but there was no reply.
He said during his other visits he also tried to follow up the matter but there was no response until he consulted Banda if he could be allowed to appoint the former deputy Ambassador to Nigeria Richard Kachingwe as an envoy since the response had delayed.
Mr Konga said after several months of waiting for a response, they were informed that it was difficult to see any Nigerian authorities, and Major Kachingwe decided to introduce him to the managing director at Sarb Energy limited, Akpan Ekpene to help hasten the request process.
He said he had contacted Mr Ekpene several times to follow up the response which also delayed until the MMD Convention in Kabwe in 2011 where Maj Kachingwe informed him that he had information that the request had been granted.
He said the sourcing of fuel from the Nigerian company was genuinely done to make Zambia benefit on behalf of the people and could not have been resolved within the few days that they were there with the former President.
The matter was adjourned to September 16, this year, for mention while trial continues on October 21, 2013.