Monday, July 22, 2013

Rupiah goes vulgar
By Mwala Kalaluka
Thu 11 July 2013, 14:01 CAT

RUPIAH Banda yesterday turned to vulgar language on the issue of his passport and knee problem.

And Banda's sympathisers threatened Major Richard Kachingwe shortly after he concluded his evidence-in-chief in a case where the former president is facing charges related to a Nigerian oil deal.

Banda said assertions that he had a knee problem were just a fantasy.

"I don't know about that. All I know is that they said I can apply for my diplomatic passport to be reinstated but I have no knee problem. That is all what I want to say… kapena eve yake isaima (unless his which doesn't erect)," said Banda without specifying who he was referring to and while wagging his index finger in front of him.

Earlier after the court session, Banda, without being asked any question caught journalists unawares and started talking to himself about his knee.

"My knees are okay! My knees are okay! My knees are okay! That is just a fantasy," as journalists scrambled to get notes from Banda who doesn't usually give interviews after court sessions.

Banda's supporters heartily laughed at his remarks.
On Monday, Banda arrived at the Lusaka Magistrates' Court complaining audibly, about his leg.

"This leg is giving me pain, it started over the weekend," Banda said to his sympathisers as he disembarked from his official motor vehicle outside the court complex.

And in an interview at the Lusaka Magistrates' Court, his senior private secretary Mikatazo Wakumelo said sooner or later, Banda would be required to go to South Africa for medical check-up.

"Yes, that knee problem is not new, he has had it for some time now and sooner or later he will be required to travel. Unfortunately, he will have to travel to South Africa where they (the state) do not want him to go," he said.

Asked if there was anything stopping Banda from fleeing once he leaves the country, Wakumelo said it was not his nature.

"Banda has travelled before after leaving the government, he has not run away. Why would he run away now?" he wondered.

And yesterday after Banda bade farewell to a paltry crowd of sympathisers that thronged his motor vehicle outside the Lusaka Magistrates' Court complex, they remained behind to wait for Maj Kachingwe who was still inside the court complex under police guard.
Notable among the group was UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema's special advisor William Banda and some known MMD and UPND cadres.
As soon as they realised that Maj Kachingwe was being driven away from the court premises, they rushed to the back of the complex and hurled verbal threats at him.

"Ichi chikazizi there is that owl," one of the sympathisers shouted as Maj Kachingwe waved at her from the safety of the moving motor vehicle. "Venzo kunyopola nawo a Banda they were eating together with Banda. Chi criminal naimwe paka muzangenamo this criminal even you will be arrested."

Another male sympathiser shouted that they would beat up Maj Kachingwe because he was a criminal.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions, Mutembo Nchito, yesterday told Banda's lawyers that there is a limit to which they can play to the gallery.

This is a matter where Banda, 75 of plot number 2758, off Leopards Hill Road, Lusaka is facing abuse of authority of office charges in relation to the alleged illegal procurement of oil from Nigeria to the tune of US$2.5 million, whose proceeds were alleged to have gone into an offshore account.

When the matter before Lusaka chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda came up for continued hearing yesterday, Nchito led Maj Kachingwe in identifying some of the documents relating to his testimony in the matter.

Maj Kachingwe, the expelled MMD national secretary, confirmed the various documents which were marked for identification.

"I confirm this is the letter I collected and handed over to the president," he said after being shown a letter from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company NNPC dated March 21, 2011. "I called president Banda that the contract was about to be signed…I quickly came here I was funded and I went back."

After identifying the various documents, Nchito availed Maj Kachingwe for cross-examination by the defence.

However, one of Banda's lawyers, Lubinda Linyama, applied for an adjournment to allow the defence to peruse the bulky documentation that the prosecution had just identified.

He said even though time was of the essence, adjourning the matter for 24 hours was the only way the defence could be helpful to the court as well as rendering professional service to Banda.

Another defence lawyer, Sakwiba Sikota said the State had asked for three months to organise its documents and that as such the defence's application for an adjournment was reasonable and non-obstructive.
"We have just been given these documents today," he said.

"Otherwise we will have a very haphazard cross-examination."

In response, Nchito said two days had been lost and that every effort must be undertaken to make as much progress as possible.

"It is a balancing act. I would have been flattered if my colleagues had said maybe we stand down the matter and come back in the afternoon because it is also true that my colleagues had three months to prepare for cross-examination," he said.

But Sikota said the defence had a 61-paged document to go through and they had asked for a day to go through it instead of the three months that the prosecution had asked to organise themselves in terms of documentation.

Nchito reacted and told Sikota that he was straying and being mischievous.

"There is a limit in playing to the gallery," said Nchito, as Sikota responded: "I am not playing to the gallery."

Nchito said Sikota was a very senior lawyer who knew that the State had not asked for the three months being referred to and magistrate Banda agreed with Nchito.

Magistrate Banda later allowed the defence's application and adjourned hearing to the whole of today.

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