High Court to decide RB’s travel

The Lusaka High Court will today determine whether or not former President Rupiah Banda will travel to South Africa to attend the Boston University African Presidential Roundtable which begins tomorrow Wednesday.
By last night his lawyers were busy preparing documentation to submit before the High Court, in the hope that a variation would be made in time to catch the midday flight.
Yesterday the DPP Mutembo Nchito objected to a variation of the bail condition that would have allowed the former President to travel.
The lawyers representing Mr Banda argued that there was previous precedence where the magistrate courts gave permission for accused persons to travel.
But Mr Nchito said the bond condition for the former head of state could only be determined by the High Court while the defence lawyers argued that the subordinate court has inherit jurisdiction to determine on the matter.
However, Mr Nchito objected that the jurisdiction was not backed by any law and that chapter 126 (3) says that only the High Court could vary the bond.
Mr Nchito also complained that he was called a “Sadist” by the former President and some lawyers who commented on the matters that were before court.
However the defence team told the magistrate that there was no formal application to the court on the matter the DPP had raised.
Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda said that the application to have Mr Banda’s passport released was brought before a wrong court because that the court has no mandate to vary the bond conditions and it was only the High Court which can vary the conditions
“I have carefully looked at both submissions and I agree with the DPP that the application was brought to a wrong court, the magistrate can extend or revoke bond,” said Magistrate Banda.
Mr Banda’s defence will this morning file the application in High Court attaching the certificate of urgency for the release of Mr Banda’s passport to enable him travel to South Africa for the Boston event.
The event is supposed to be attended by all former heads of States under the theme “The cost of Democracy” and Mr Banda is expected to make a presentation at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Civil rights activist Brebner Changala has said the happenings to Mr Banda makes sad reading in that he was being prosecuted by people who have grudges against him and were not ready to give him any chance to operate as a free citizen.
“There are signs already of treating him with grave animosity. They have already withdrawn all his rights as a citizen and yet he has not been convicted by any courts of law in the country because in their own minds, they have found him guilty” he said.
Mr Changala demanded that Mr Nchito recuse himself from prosecuting Mr Banda because he cannot be a referee in his own game.
“At many fora, Nchito has admitted that he has serious issues to settle with Mr Banda. Natural justice demands that you cannot preside over a matter in which you have interests” he said.

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