Rupiah Banda’s lawyers plan to block Mutembo Nchito

Rupiah Bwezani Banda RB
Rupiah Bwezani Banda RB

LAWYERS representing former Republican President Rupiah Banda have said they will object to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito prosecuting their client in a corruption-related case due to conflict of interest.
And Banda, 75, together with two Chinese firms yesterday pleaded not guilty to three counts of corruption and concealing 19 trucks.
Banda re-took plea for the third time after the State on Tuesday replaced his charge sheet before principal magistrate Obister Musukwa to have him jointly charged with Sogecao Zambia Limited and Construction and Engineering Investments general manager, Jin Gao.
After Banda and Jin pleaded not guilty to all the three counts, Anti-Corruption Commission prosecutor Dennis Simwinga placed on court record Mr Nchito as the lead prosecutor in the matter in which trial was scheduled to commence on January 21, 2014.
Mr Simwinga applied to have the matter adjourned to a convenient date to allow Mr Nchito to be present before court.
One of the defence lawyers, Steven Lungu at this point informed the court that the defence would equally wish to put it on court record that when the matter comes up for trial they would object to Mr Nchito prosecuting Banda on account of conflict of interest.
“The DPP is a potential witness in another matter and cannot, therefore, be seen to be prosecuting our client in this matter,” Mr Lungu said.
He said the defence would lay bare facts to the court as to why Mr Nchito should not be allowed to prosecute the matter.
Mr Musukwa adjourned the case to January 21, next year for commencement of trial, but said he was mindful that the matter had dragged for too long and now wanted to see progress.
Banda is alleged to have concealed gratification involving 19 light trucks contrary to the law.
Particulars are that Banda, between January 30 and August 2011, received nine motor vehicles and another 10 from the Chinese firms, which property was obtained as gratification.
Banda is further alleged to have concealed the receipt of the said motor vehicles by having them registered in the names of other people connected to him.