THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will not appeal against the acquittal of former Republican President Rupiah Banda in a Nigerian oil deal for which his immunity from prosecution was removed.
The decision by ACC to abandon its intentions to appeal against the acquittal of the former head of State means that former president Banda is now a free citizen although the debate about his immunity being restored is still going on.
Speaking during the Commission’s 2015 end of year media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono said the commission had resolved to discontinue its intentions with the appeal case after consultations with the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).
Mr. Moono disclosed that the Commission had closed the case involving Mpundu Trust, a real estate company owned by former First Lady, Thandiwe Banda.
He said the closure of the court case was as a result of difficulties in obtaining information from international boundaries.
“We will not appeal against the former President, as we were advised not to by the NPA, So that case has been closed,” he said.
The former president was in June last year, acquitted of the charge of abuse of authority of office in an oil deal involving a Nigerian company.
This followed allegations that between May 1, 2008 and September 24, 2011, Mr. Banda abused the authority of his office by allegedly procuring a Nigerian government-to-government oil contract in the name of the Republic of Zambia but did not benefit the Zambian people.
But in his Judgement, Principal Magistrate Joshua Banda adopted the submission by the defence of no case to answer, a verdict the ACC sought to appeal against.
Mr. Moono further indicated that the Commission was still carrying out investigations at the Ministry of General Education regarding the awarding of a contract to foreign publishing houses to print text books.
Meanwhile, Mr. Moono observed that in 2015, the Commission received 1,645 reports of suspected corruption.
He said this showed a decrease of 600 reports from 2,245 received in 2014.
“This reduction demonstrates intensified anti-corruption efforts where the public have been empowered with knowledge on what constitutes corruption,” he said.
Mr. Moono reiterated that the Commission would continue to effectively implement strategies and programmes aimed at squarely tackling the corruption scourge in the country.
He commended President Edgar Lungu for his effort in the fight against corruption; by pronouncing that his government reaffirmed it’s committed to zero tolerance to corruption at opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly.
He said such high-level political pronouncements gave the anti-corruption fight the required vigour it deserved to combat corruption.
“The president took a huge step in the fight against corruption, he clearly stated that he will not shield anyone found wanting in the government’s anti-corruption drive, which is really commendable.