FORMER President Rupiah Banda yesterday turned the Lusaka Magistrates Court into a place of mourning, of course for joy, after he was found with no case to answer in the matter where he was accused of corruptly benefiting from the Nigerian oil deal.
Ndola High Court deputy director of operations Joshua Banda, sitting as magistrate, said in his ruling that the prosecution evidence was characterised by gross contradictions and inconsistencies and therefore it was difficult to rely on it.
“The prosecution has failed to prove the essential element of this case… having said this I am satisfied that the evidence made before this court which I reviewed is not sufficient to require the accused to be put on his defence. The case is dismissed. This results into an acquittal and leave to appeal is granted,” he said.
He said the State had failed to prove evidence that the former president had directed proceeds to his son, Henry, and paid some to his family members. Magistrate Banda said the prosecution had failed to establish that Henry Banda was linked to a foreign company which is alleged to have received the money from the oil sale.
This is in a matter in which Mr Banda was charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to the law. Magistrate Banda said Mr Banda was free to go home and that the State has failed to prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt.
He charged that the prosecution was incompetent on this one matter. After the ruling, while Mr Banda wept for joy, his supporters danced in celebration in the car park.