By Nation Reporter
PARLIAMENT heard yesterday that the restoration of the immunity of former President Rupiah Banda was by operation of the law as he had been acquitted of all criminal charges.
Deputy minister in the Office of the Vice President Bwalya Chungu told the House that the restoration was backed by Article 43 (3) of the Constitution, Cap. 1 prior to amendment, which granted legal immunity to former Presidents and provided for removal only for the purpose of bringing criminal charges related to specific issues.
Mr Bwalya was responding to UPND Kabompo West Member of Parliament Ambrose Lufuma, who asked the Vice President and Minister of Development Planning what circumstances led to the restoration of the legal immunity of Mr Banda in March, 2016, and whether it was backed by any law; and if so, which law.
In his response, Mr Bwalya said the immunity provided by the Constitution still subsists under Article 98.
“The relevant clauses under that article, are clause (4) (9) and (10) which provide in (4) subject to clause (9), the President or a person performing executive functions, as provided in article 109, immune from criminal proceedings which immunity continues after that person ceases to hold or perform the functions of the office.
“(9) Where immunity is removed, in accordance with clause (8), the person who held the offices of President or who performed executive functions, shall be charged with the offence for which the immunity from criminal proceedings was removed,” Mr Bwalya said.
He added that clause (10) which states that where a court acquits the person who held the office of President or who performed executive functions, of an offences for which that person’s immunity from criminal proceedings was removed, the immunity of that person shall, for all purposes, be deemed not to have been removed, without further proceedings.
Mr Bwalya said since the matters in respect of which the former president’s immunity was removed have been concluded and the State has not appealed nor does it intend to, the immunity of the former president is restored without the need for any further action.
“Once criminal proceedings against the former president were
concluded, Article 98 (10) of the Constitution of Zambia applied to restore the president’s immunity,” Mr Bwalya said.