Banda accuses family for woes

Lusaka – Former Zambian president, Rupiah Banda, who is facing corruption charges, is accusing some members of his family for contributing to his woes.
Banda (75) is in court facing more than two counts of corruption and says some members of his family ‑ whom he helped when he was president ‑ are now putting him in trouble.
Sources close to Banda’s family have said the former president was surprised by the new charge slapped on him.
Banda is in court for, among other charges, spending US$2.5 million to procure oil from a Nigerian company, which did not benefit his family. He has also been questioned over the transfer of a piece of land in Lusaka (Baobab) to some Egyptian investors.
The other charge is in connection with the investigations on MMD campaign materials.
Recently, Banda was questioned over of nine light trucks, which were donated by a Chinese company to Zambia for use during the construction of a sports facility in Ndola.
Banda is alleged to have concealed the vehicles.
According to Government Joint Investigative Team (GJIT) spokesperson, Namukolo Kasumpa, the concealment of the gratification was contrary to Section 36 of the Anti-Corruption Act No 38 of 2010.
According to the charge sheet, the former President, on dates unknown but between January 1, 2011, and August 30, 2011, received nine vehicles all valued at nearly US$91 000, which property was obtained as gratification from Sogecao Zambia Ltd, a subsidiary of Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company of China.
The company was contracted to construct the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, and Banda is alleged to have concealed receipt of the said vehicles by having them registered in the names of other people connected to him, an indictment read to the media by Kasumpa reads.
Banda was released on a police bond on his own cognisance and was asked to pay US$100 000 with two working sureties to the state.
Banda re-appears in court on April 30 over the matter.
Sogecao Zambia Limited has confirmed the donation of nine vehicles through State House, which were allegedly diverted by the former president.
According to Li Ren Fu, Chinese company’s director: “Sogecao donated nine light trucks to the Zambian government in 2011. Such donation was asked by State House of Zambia, and Sogecao handed them over to the State House directly but not to any individual”.
Anui Foreign Economic Construction Company (AFECC), Sogecao’s parent company, has establishments across the world.
“All projects awarded to us are by proper means of public bidding. No secret acts can be acceptable,” Li said.
He said the Chinese were confident of more transparent trade and investment with Zambia, as enjoyed over the past years.
“The project of the Levy Mwanawasa Sports Stadium in Ndola was discussed and decided by His Excellency, Mr Levy Mwanawasa, the former President of the Republic of Zambia and his Excellency Hu Jintao, the former president of the People's Republic of China and then awarded to AFECC by the Chinese government, as a governmental-aided project after legal procedure of public bidding in China,” Li said.
According to Li, Sogecao also got the swimming pool project at the Olympic Centre in Lusaka and completed it within 90 days with good quality works, which were highly praised by the ministries of sports and works.
As part of the Chinese’s unwavering friendship with Zambia, Sogecao has, meanwhile, invested in a five-star hotel, the Golden Peacock in Lusaka, in order to contribute to local employment and the economy, Li added, without disclosing how much has been ploughed into the project.
“Our company bought three private jets already because we have full confidence in our investments in Zambia,” said Li.

April 2013
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