Friday, April 13, 2012

Government will have a good case of money laundering against Henry - Shamenda

Government will have a good case of money laundering against Henry - Shamenda
By Joan Chirwa-Ngoma and Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 13 Apr. 2012, 13:29 CAT

CHIEF government spokesperson Fackson Shamenda says the government will have a good case of money laundering against Henry Banda based on the amount of money paid to his lawyer Robert Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, in a statement yesterday, accused the government of violating international norms of due process, rule of law and the constitutional separation of powers.

In his response to the government's demands that Henry, former president Rupiah Banda's son, returns home to appear before investigating agencies, Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff LLP stated that the Zambian government lacks any real case against his client.

But Shamenda, in his reaction to Amsterdam's claims, said international money laundering standards require even lawyers to enquire into the source of funds that their clients were using, especially so when the legal fees were significant as the government suspects was the case with Amsterdam.

"If Henry can afford to pay Mr Amsterdam, then the government has a good case of money laundering against Henry," he said.

Shamenda, who is also information and labour minister, advised Amsterdam to "stop politicking over simple and straightforward matters".

"Looking at the statement, clearly it is Mr Robert Amsterdam who is politicking over a very simple and straightforward matter. If Mr Robert Amsterdam believes that there is no case government has against Henry, why has Henry been failing to avail himself before the investigative wings to provide answers to the questions that are waiting for him? It is only the guilty that will always be afraid to face the law enforcement officers," he said.

"And before Henry Banda and his lawyer start challenging government and accusing us of bad faith, we challenge Mr Amsterdam to ask both his clients, Rupiah and his son Henry, where they are getting money to pay him colossal sums because we know that Henry, before his father became president, he was virtually bankrupt."

And on Amsterdam's statement that Henry was "running into Zambian ministers" in South Africa, Shamenda said ministers were not law enforcement officers to question Henry on any matter when they meet him.

"Clearly, Amsterdam who is supposed to be of international standing appears not to understand that ministers are not investigators in this matter…If he sincerely believes that the government has got nothing against him Henry, why not appear before the investigative wings? If indeed the government has got nothing, let him quickly acquit himself by appearing before the investigative wings," said Shamenda.

Amsterdam, in his statement yesterday, said there was fundamental lack of credibility to the state's case, given its irregular and unlawful abuse of the due process of the law.

"If you look at the way this matter is being handled by Zambia, you see all the hallmarks of a politically motivated farce," stated Amsterdam who represents both former president Rupiah Banda and his son, Henry.

"Mr Banda has never been questioned by the police about anything, while instead the state has conducted a trial by headline consisting of frequently changing accusations. The fact that Zambia has refused to describe what Mr Banda is accused of should set off alarm bells. It is a clear sign that they lack any real case."

He stated that the ‘persecution' of Henry was ultimately aimed at pressuring former president Banda and the destruction of the main opposition party, the MMD.

Amsterdam stated that the allegations had been accompanied by a broad attack on the MMD, including a shocking attempt to de-register the party.

He stated that there had been repeated arrests of its officials, including spokesperson Dora Siliya, and most recently a claim by the former High Commissioner to Canada Nevers Mumba that his house had been raided by suspected state security agents.

"… The Zambian authorities have so far failed to respond to Banda's legal representatives request for information and clarification of the alleged charges but instead chose to attack him in the media with unsubstantiated allegations, including labeling him a fugitive, which is false," he stated.

Amsterdam stated that Henry could hardly have any reasonable expectation of a fair judicial process, much less any fair treatment in the Zambian media.

Amsterdam & Peroff LLP, along with law firm Brian Kahn Inc of Johannesburg, South Africa represent Banda and Henry.

The legal team is in the process of presenting appeals before international bodies to expose the unlawful conduct undertaken by the current administration against the political opposition.

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