Thursday, April 04, 2013

What is Rupiah afraid of?
By Editor
Thu 04 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

It is clear that Rupiah Banda is scared of being prosecuted or being made to answer in any way for his corruption.

Why? It is said that the guilty are afraid. If Rupiah is as innocent as he wants to make everyone believe, why can't he have his day in court and explain every crime he is accused of having committed? Rupiah has the opportunity to have his day in court. And since he says that he has confidence in the Judiciary, why is he afraid of being prosecuted for corruption before this fair and impartial Judiciary?

When Rupiah maliciously and falsely accused us of having pocketed US$30 million from state institutions using Zambian Airways, our response was that if we have committed any crime, let him get us arrested and prosecuted for those wrongs.

We made it clear that we were not above the law and we were not scared of being investigated, and if found wanting prosecuted. That was our response to Rupiah's allegations against us. Indeed, we were summoned to the offices of the Drug Enforcement Commission and warn and caution statements were taken from us. Investigations were instituted but yielded nothing of any wrongdoing on our part.

And all those who were involved in those investigations are still here in our law enforcement agencies, save for former inspector general of police Francis Kabonde who has been retired. All these people can tell the nation what crimes they found us to have committed. The truth is they found nothing and as such we were neither arrested nor prosecuted.
But at no time did we object to being investigated, to being arrested, to being prosecuted. In fact, we invited law enforcement agencies to investigate, arrest and prosecute us if we had committed any crime.

This didn't happen because we had committed no crime. We were confident in our response to Rupiah's allegations because we knew we were innocent. And not even the most corrupt magistrate would have found a way to convict us without looking stupid. Why is Rupiah not responding to the corruption allegations against him the way we responded to his allegations against us?

The truth is Rupiah knows very well that he is not innocent, he is not clean where matters of corruption are concerned. When he was president of the Republic of Zambia, Rupiah sued us for libel. He accused us of having accused him of being corrupt when he was not.

At that time Rupiah was in charge of not only the whole country but also the Judiciary. Rupiah was in a position to manipulate the Judiciary and he was confident of getting the result he wanted. When proceedings started in the High Court, Rupiah received very favourable but highly questionable rulings in his favour.

It was clear that we were not getting any justice in that case but we didn't run away or object to the trial. We didn't accuse him of persecuting us. We tried as far as possible to use the law to defend ourselves. When Rupiah lost power in September 2011, he abandoned his libel suit against us. Why? Our simple explanation is that he knew now that he was no longer in a position to manipulate the judicial process against us and in his favour.

Again, sometime last year, Rupiah sued chief Chisunka for defamation for calling him corrupt. We joined the defence team of chief Chisunka. When Rupiah realised this, he again discontinued his defamation case. Why? He knew that people who knew about his corruption had joined the case.

It is clear that Rupiah is not ready to answer or to be taken to task over his corruption. This is why even matters he himself initiated against those accusing him of corruption were discontinued.
Rupiah knows very well that it is not possible for him to have his day in court because of what he had done. The corruption charges against Rupiah are simple and straightforward and offer him the greatest opportunity to prove his innocence, the innocence he had pleaded. But what do we hear from him? Cries of persecution. Cries of victimisation. Cries of vindictiveness.

Let him prove his innocence and that he is being persecuted, victimised and that there is vindictiveness against him in his defence in the corruption charges against him. This is a great opportunity for him to clear his name and show that the charges against him are false, baseless and malicious.

Trying to play politics and manipulate public opinion will not help Rupiah. What matters for Rupiah now is to put up a proper defence that proves that he never stole money from that government oil deal. This is the charge he is facing. Trying to evade this matter through all sorts of legal and political gymnastics will not do.

The whole world will be following the court proceedings. And this newspaper will cover these proceedings verbatim so that everything that is said in that court is accurately transmitted to the whole world for all to see what really happened. If Rupiah is being persecuted, the whole world will know if he is telling the truth or not. There is no need to resort to cheap and desperate schemes which will not absolve him from the charges or accusations of corruption that he is facing. Crying persecution will not secure an acquittal for Rupiah.

And no matter how much propaganda Robert Amsterdam posts on the internet claiming this and that for Rupiah, nothing will change the course of this case. What will determine the outcome is not political propaganda but the evidence that is before the court and how Rupiah responds to it.

An innocent person cannot behave the way Rupiah is behaving. Those who are innocent have nothing to fear. Rupiah is afraid because he knows very well that his hands are not clean. Rupiah needs that immunity to protect him from legitimate prosecution. And this explains why he has tried so hard to manipulate the politics of the opposition so that it protects his immunity from being lifted. But this has failed. And we don't think anything else will succeed in protecting Rupiah from legitimate prosecution for corruption.

What Rupiah should now be looking for is a proper defence for his case. But to achieve this, Rupiah has to start telling his lawyers and others dealing with his case the truth. We say this because when the truth comes out, the lies that he has been peddling, the lamb image that he has been trying to project will disappear and be replaced by shame and ridicule. There are maybe some people believing the lies he is telling them but soon the truth will be known about what he did or did not do. If Rupiah is truly innocent, there is nothing for him to fear under a Judiciary that he says he has got confidence in.

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