Son of former president Rupiah Banda, Andrew Banda still in prison

FORMER diplomat Andrew Banda
FORMER diplomat Andrew Banda

FORMER diplomat Andrew Banda has spent another night in prison because the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court yesterday could not to grant him bail pending appeal to the High Court on grounds that the State was not ready to respond to his submission against a two-year jail sentence slapped on him.
The 53-year-old Banda, who is former President Rupiah Banda’s son, was last Friday jailed by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court for soliciting and receiving over K171,000 as a reward for assisting Fratelli Locci SRI to get a contract.
This is in a matter in which Banda, a former First Secretary at the Zambian mission in Italy, was charged with one count of gratification for giving assistance on contracts, contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
According to the notice of appeal, Banda said his conviction is unsafe and against the weight of evidence.
Banda argues that the trial court erred in law when it held that he solicited gratification when there was no evidence to that effect.
He said the trial court erred in law and fact when it ignored the evidence of witnesses from the Road Development Agency (RDA) when they said  the contracts were awarded to Fratelli Locci SRI Limited on merit and he played no role at RDA.
Banda submitted that the trial court erred in law when it held that he could be held liable for payments made to AB Logistics Limited without any order of the incorporation of the said company.
“The trial court erred in law and fact when it disregarded the evidence of the business relationship between the accused and Antonelli Locci,” part of the notice of appeal reads.
In his bail application, Banda said the State will not be prejudiced if he is granted bail pending appeal and he is ready to abide by bail conditions set by the court.
Banda said appeals take long to be heard by the High Court and his continued stay in custody will be prejudicial to him.
Banda said if his appeal succeeds in the High Court, he would have served a considerable time in jail.
“I am not in any way a flight risk as I have fully complied with bail conditions and have never absconded from any proceedings,” he said.
But the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) chambers were not ready to respond to Banda’s notice of appeal as it needed time to study the document.
Banda is accused of allegedly soliciting and agreeing to receive two percent of all the money paid to Fratelli Locci SRI, a company owned by Italian businessman Antenello Locci.
He is alleged to have received K121,065.700, K30,000 and K20,000 from Mr Locci as an inducement or reward for having given assistance to Mr Locci in the award of contracts.
Magistrate Banda said in his judgement that he was satisfied that the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
He said it is clear from the evidence that Banda was urging and commanding Locci to make payment for every contract his company got from RDA.