FORMER President Rupiah Banda’s administrative assistant Mikatazo Wakumelo has joined calls urging Parliament to immediately restore Mr Banda’s immunity against prosecution.
This follows Mr Banda’s acquittal of abuse of authority of office involving a US$2.5 million government-to-government oil deal between Zambia and Nigeria.
On June 29, Ndola High Court deputy registrar Joshua Banda, sitting as Lusaka chief resident magistrate, said the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant placing the former President on his defence.
Mr Banda, who delivered a one-and-a-half-hour ruling in a fully-packed courtroom, said: “I am satisfied that evidence laid before this court is not sufficient to place the accused on his defence. Therefore, this case is dismissed according to Section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
Mr Wakumelo said in an interview yesterday that Parliament, which lifted Mr Banda’s immunity, should in the same spirit restore it because it was removed to prosecute the former President over the alleged oil deal.
“I want to agree with Vice-President Inonge Wina, who mentioned in Parliament on Friday (last week) that the reinstatement of Mr Banda’s immunity can only be done by Parliament, being the institution which removed it.
“Parliament should, therefore, in the same vein be magnanimous enough and restore it now that he has been acquitted on the same cases that led to the removal of his immunity,” he said.
And Mr Wakumelo said lawyers who represented Mr Banda in the case have been asked to avail the judgment to Mr Banda before the end of this week.
He said this will enable Mr Banda to study the details of the lengthy judgment before he can break his silence on the current debate about the restoration of his immunity among other related matters.
“We have asked our lawyers to get us the judgment because you know they can be very long. The lawyers said they will get it before the end of this week so that we can go through and study it…so that when he (Mr Banda) dates the press, we can refer to it appropriately and answer questions accordingly,” Mr Wakumelo said.