Witness in RB trial breaks down


(Aug 13th) – NIGERIA’S SARB Energy Limited managing director, Akpan Ekpene broke down in the witness box during his testimony, forcing the court to adjourn proceedings for more than 20 minutes to allow him to compose himself.
Mr Ekpene could not hold his tears back when he told the chief resident magistrate that he had no hatred against the former Head of State Rupiah Banda and wished he had won the last tripartite elections.
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.
But before he could go further with his explanations, Mr Ekpene became emotional and failed to hold his tears back, saying had Banda won, he and the accused person would not have been appearing in court to testify.
In re-examination-in-chief by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito, the witness said he held Banda in high esteem, believed in him and vice versa.
“I have nothing against His Excellency, I sincerely wished he had won the last elections as president, because he would not have been where he is and I also would not have been where I am now,” Mr Ekpene said.
And the witness testified that Banda would have continued to benefit from the anticipated lifting of the crude oil had the contract not been terminated.
Mr Ekpene said that he made a donation after Major Richard Kachingwe insisted because he told him that in an event that Banda won, he was going to be identified and in turn given major contracts.
Earlier in cross-examination by defence counsel, Professor Patrick Mvunga, the witness said he travelled to Zambia to confirm that his company did not receive any money from the Zambian Government and that his team took a great risk and exhibited their mandate to the best of their knowledge.
“I was not happy with what I was reading about my company in online articles which I could access. So when I came here I wanted to confirm that we did not receive the US$2.5 million from the Zambian Government, we took great risk and delivered our mandate,” he said.
Mr Ekpene said the lifting of the crude oil was done in September 2011 after the accused person had seized to be the Republican president and that the contract was later terminated, an indication that nobody further benefited from the contract.
Hearing continues today (Aug 13th).