LUSAKA chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda has refused an application by former republican president Rupiah Banda to have his oil deal case referred to the high court for determination of
Mr Banda said he could not refer the matter because there were no constitutional issues that had risen to warrant reference to the high court.
He said that fears by Banda that director of public prosecutions Mutembo Nchito was impartial, as he had interest in the matter, had no substance as they were only speculative views.
This is in a matter in which Banda, 76, is charged with abuse of authority relating to an oil transaction with the Nigerian Government which the State say benefited his family.
Banda had about a month ago raised a preliminary issue by asking Mr Banda to refer the case to the high court on grounds that issues had risen that hinged on the constitution and needed to be determined by the high court.
Banda accused Mr Nchito of being biased and that he was investigating his case while he was having him prosecuted in court.
He also alleged that Mr Nchito had committed himself before the Parliamentary Committee not to prosecute Banda should he go to court.
But Mr Banda in his ruling yesterday said that after viewing the Parliamentary Committee proceedings, he came to the conclusion that Mr Nchito did not make such undertakings.
Mr Banda said that it was too late for Banda at this stage only the last State witness, the arresting officer on stand, for Banda to make such a request.
“It would be too late to ask for that at this stage. We are at the very end of the prosecution’s case. I did not see any constitutional issues therefore the application is refused and will proceed,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said that Banda was enjoying a fair hearing seeing he had been afforded the rite to legal representation and he took plea where he pleaded not guilty to the offences.
He adjourned the case to November 3, 2014 for continued cross examination of Banda’s arresting officer, Friday Tembo.
Banda would be mentioned on October 3, 2014 but the court has excused him appearing in person.
Times of Zambia