Magistrate stays RB’s corruption case

Rupiah Banda

Rupiah Banda

THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has refused to quash the indictment in which former President Rupiah Banda is charged with corruption.

In this matter, Banda is charged with two counts of corrupt practices by public officer and concealing gratification by receiving motor vehicles from Segocao Zambia Limited, contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

Banda, through his lawyers, argued that Section 137 of the Criminal Procedure Code makes it mandatory to indicate clearly the property referred to in the charge and that Section 19 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act states that a public body has to be involved in the transaction.

He said the lack of particulars in the indictment will cause prejudice and embarrassment to him as he appears in court on insufficient particulars and that this is “an abuse of court process”.

Banda said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s consent to prosecute him “is incompetent and raises a question of jurisdiction”.
The State asked the court to dismiss Banda’s application to quash the indictment, saying it is not bad at law and has sufficient particulars.

DPP Mutembo Nchito said Banda is properly charged as the indictment is in line with the provisions of the law. Mr Nchito argued that the State complied with the law in preferring the charge and that the particulars of the offence are sufficient and there is no legal requirement to specifically describe the vehicles.
Mr Nchito said if the court agrees with the defence that the State did not meet its statutory requirements in the manner of description, then the indictment is curable by amendment.

Delivering ruling, magistrate Obbister Musukwa said the indictment is not bad at law and that Banda was properly charged.
Mr Musukwa, however, ordered the State to amend the indictment and provide details of the motor vehicles which are alleged to have been received.

He said Banda will not suffer any prejudice or gross injustice if an amendment is made to the indictment.
“After perusal of the submissions and the authorities cited, it is my considered view that the State should provide proper description of the vehicles,” Mr Musukwa said.

Mr Musukwa said the issue of indicating the dealings Banda was engaged in will be part of the evidence that will be brought to court. He said the objection of the defence that there is no mention of a public body with which the dealings were conducted is not tenable because the republic of Zambia is mentioned and that a public body is one which is under the government.

Mr Musukwa said the argument that the consent to prosecute Banda was incompetent and raises questions of jurisdiction is misplaced and, therefore, untenable.

“The application to quash the indictment is not granted. It is my order that the State furnish the details of the motor vehicles that are alleged to have been received by the accused,” he said.

The matter comes up on November 4, for possible plea and commencement of trial.

Mr Banda is presently abroad in South Africa, where he has gone to seek medical attention. / Daily Mail