The Nigerian star witness yesterday stunned the Lusaka Magistrates Court when he admitted that former president Rupiah Banda had no hand whatsoever in the oil deal and did not solicit for any money.
Mr Akpan Ekpene the Nigerian tycoon testified that instead it was Major Richard Kachingwe who had solicited for the $260 000 to finance the former ruling party campaigns.
He also declared that there had never been a contract between the Zambian government and his company SARB and that no business transactions took place between former President and his company.
Mr Ekpene told Senior Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda that the trial had been stressful; adding that former president had never solicited for the $260 000 and that the money was never paid to Mr Banda.
During the trial yesterday Mr Ekpene also maintained that that the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) had taken over the oil deal and that the money involved in the transaction would be shared soon after the completion of the agreement.
He testified that his company had since entered into negotiations with the Patriotic Front (PF) government which in his last testimony said the oil deal had been taken over by the current government.
He told Magistrate Banda that that the $260 000 cash for which Mr Banda was being prosecuted was in fact meant for the MMD campaigns and not for the former president.
Mr Ekpene told the court that he did not declare the $260 000 cash when he entered Zambia and that the money was meant to finance the MMD campaigns.
Mr. Ekpene who is Managing Director of the Sarb Energy Limited in Nigeria told Magistrate Banda that no one from his company and the Zambian government had benefited from the oil deal as the transaction did not take off.
Mr Ekpene also revealed in the court that the $2.5million he claimed to have sourced and paid to the Nigerian National Corporation producing (NNCP) under the ministry of Petroleum for the shipment of 45 000 barrels of oil that was supposed to be delivered to Zambia had been refunded.
He testified that he had been refunded the $2.5 million allegedly paid to NNCP because the contract had been cancelled soon after the MMD lost power.
He further told the court that he had met Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito in Nigeria when the case was being investigated and had been assured that his presence in Zambia was part of the investigations and did not expect to come to court.
Mr. Ekpene, who was in the witness box the whole day literally shed tears and complained that his only interest for now was to clear his company’s name with a view to continue his oil deal with the current PF government.
Trial continues today.