Monday, August 12, 2013

Rupiah Banda ‘Oiled’ With K1.4m – Nigerian Witness

By Caroline Kalombe
Zambia Daily Mail, August 13, 2013

FORMER president Rupiah Banda received US$260,000 (about K1.4 million) from a Nigerian businessman as financial support for the 2008 general elections, the Lusaka High Court heard yesterday.

This is in a matter in which Banda, 75, of house number 3, plot 2759 off Leopards Hill Road in Lusaka, is charged with one count of abuse of authority of office, contrary to section 99 (1) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Sab Energy managing director Acpan Ekpene told the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court that he came into the country on a personal visit to deliver campaign materials for the MMD.

He said he personally handed over the cash to Banda, which he had raised from Nigeria to assist him with election campaigns.

Mr Ekpene said the materials included T-shirts, MMD logos and many other items.

“We took contributions from our sponsors but most of the funds were from my personal finances,” he said.

Mr Ekpene said he made the donation after former MMD national secretary Richard Kachingwe solicited for the funds.
Mr Ekpene said he was asked by Major Kachingwe to make the donations to the MMD to help Banda win the elections.
He also told the court that he has no dealings with the current ruling party and that the only official from the Patriotic Front government he met concerning the oil transaction is the former Ministry of Energy permanent secretary George Zulu.
Mr Ekpene said his communication with the Ministry of Energy is intended to clear his company’s name with regard to the government-to-government oil transaction.

He said the Nigerian investigative agencies have questioned him over the oil transaction and that he was told that it is only by testifying in court that his name and company can be cleared.

“We have not been investigated but when the case came up here, we were asked to give our position and I gave reports to Mr Zulu and to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria,” Mr Ekpene said.

Banda allegedly procured  a government-to-government oil contract in the name of the republic of Zambia, “which he in fact meant to benefit himself and his family”.

He is accused of instructing his son, Henry Chikomeni Banda, to determine the destination of the proceeds of this contract, an instruction from which the republic of Zambia did not receive any benefit.

Mr Banda’s alleged act is “arbitrary and prejudicial to the interests of the republic of Zambia”.
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