Cartel targets judiciary

The  cartel that has mastered the art of manipulating presidents and almost hijacked State power during the reign of former president Michael Sata has continued to dent the country’s judicial system by undermining the verdicts of the courts, the International Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolutions (IIDCR) has charged.

IIDCR president Tresford Chomba has branded the Nigerian Civil Society Network Against Corruption as a hired gun being used by the cartel to perpetuate the hate and slander campaign against former president Rupiah Banda who has been acquitted over the Nigerian oil case.

Mr Chomba told the Daily Nation yesterday that there have been attempts by the cartel to strain the warm diplomatic relations between Zambia and Nigeria by undermining the sovereignty of Zambia’s judicial system.

He said there has been a sustained campaign and attempts by Olanrewaju Suraju and the cartel to strain the warm diplomatic relations between Zambia and Nigeria by undermining the sovereignty of Zambia and its judicial system.

He said the letter by Suraju to President Muhammadu Buhari purporting to demand the recovery of money from former president Rupiah Banda and his son Henry was an abrogation of the international relations which President Buhari should ignore.

Mr Chomba said the demands by Mr Suraju was nothing but a farce and the highest disrespect of the sovereignty of Zambia as a country adding that former president Banda had been acquitted by the court and was a free citizen.

“The Nigerian Civil Society Network Against Corruption and its well-known cartel have continued to undermine the verdicts passed by the Zambian courts over the acquittal of former president Rupiah Banda. Mr Suraju and his organisation are abrogating international and diplomatic relations between Zambia and Nigeria. Who is Suraju and his organisation to question the ruling of our courts. Mr Suraju is associated with the cartel that fought president Banda. They fought second republican president to his grave and now they want to undermine our judicial system,” Mr Choma said.

He said Zambia strongly believed in the rule of law and that the country’s courts were guided and governed by the Constitution adding that it was cheap politicking for Mr Suraju and his cartel members to pretend they were advocating for the interest of Zambians.

Mr Chomba said Zambian courts were competent and had cleared president Banda adding that a state witnessed from Nigeria, Akepen Akpan, a chief executive officer of an oil company in Nigeria testified that Zambia did not lose anything in the alleged deal as no money paid.

He said Mr Akpan testified that former president Banda was only framed in the case by a group of individuals who demonized president Chiluba and yet the cartel was ultimate beneficiary of the malicious fight against corruption.

Mr Chomba said the cartel that fought former presidents Chiluba and Banda had failed to account for illegally seized Tedworth Properties adding that his organisation would soon constitute a team to push for the accounting of the looted Tedworth Properties and other seized properties by the task force.

He said if the State was not going to appeal against Mr Banda’s acquittal, his organisation would petition the courts to compel the National Assembly to restore the former president’s immunity.

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