Banda’s Lawyers Apply to Stay Proceedings in Oil Case

Former President Rupiah Banda addresses supporters outside the courthouse today.
Former President Rupiah Banda’s lawyers have applied to the Lusaka Magistrate to stay proceedings in a matter in which the former President is accused of having benefitted from a government to government petroleum transaction.
The former president addressed a large crowd of supporters that had gathered outside the court, thanking them for their support. When asked whether or not Rupiah intended to mount a political comeback, Banda said that it is “up to the people.”
“It’s their constitutional right to call for whomever they want, but for now I have no comment on the matter as I am focused on the matters before court,” Banda said.
Meanwhile the Lusaka Magistrate has adjourned the matter to August 21, 2014 for ruling on whether the proceedings in the Magistrate Court should be stayed or not.
When the matter came up before Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda today, Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito told the Magistrate that he had received notification of the application. One of the defense lawyers Professor Patrick Mvunga said the defense was ready to argue the application provided the prosecution was ready to proceed.
Nchito said the Prosecution was ready to proceed but Magistrate Banda opted for written submissions as opposed to oral submissions.
He has since ruled that the prosecution must respond to the defense application by close of Wednesday 13, August 2014 while the Defense team can respond to the prosecution by Thursday 14 August 2014.
The Chief Resident Magistrate will then deliver ruling a week later on Thursday 21 August 2014.
Among the grounds aanced by the defense and seen by the Zambia Reports to stay proceedings is that there are two pending matters in the High Court the hinge on the right to fair trial and until the High Court decides, it was important that the lower court stays the proceedings because all the three matters refer to Mutembo Nchito prosecuting the former President.
Lusaka Principal Magistrate Obster Musukwa has referred one matter to the High Court on whether Mutembo Nchito can prosecute Rupiah Banda based on his past record, which includes his involvement in the bankrupt Zambian Airways company and an unpaid debt of K14 billion to the Development Bank of Zambia. Senior Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile has also referred one matter to the High Court on whether Mutembo Nchito can prosecute Post Newspapers owner Fred M’membe on behalf of Rupiah Banda in a matter in which Rupiah has dragged M’membe to court for contempt.
It is on these two cases that the defense wants Magistrate Joshua Banda to stay the proceeding in the other matter until the High court decides because it is also been prosecuted by Mutembo Nchito.

Source : Zambia Reports

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