Magistrate Absence Forces Adjournment of Rupiah’s Case

RBThe case involving former president Rupiah Banda has again been adjourned by the Lusaka Magistrate Court as the magistrate in charge was not available.

President was present at the court with a handful of sympathizers and supporters that came to offer solidarity to him.

Magistrate Joshua Banda who adjourned the matter last Thursday had been due to deliver a ruling on whether the matter in which Banda is charged for abuse of authority of office in an oil deal but the matter had to be adjourned to next week after the magistrate was reportedly out of town.

Banda’s lawyers are seeking that the magistrate court rule whether Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo should personally prosecute Banda without declaring interest.

The former President contends that Nchito harbours a publicly acknowledged hatred for him and had told the parliamentary committee that scrutinized his appointment to the position that he would declare interest in the event that he had to prosecute Banda.

According to the submissions by the prosecution team, they contend that the action is unnecessary as the case is almost closed with one witness remaining to take stand.

But the defendant’s lawyers contend that a personal has a right to seek constitutional interpretation where his right to a fair trial is threatened and there no provision that restrains him in the constitution that bars him from requesting the matter to be referred to the magistrate court.

The case will come up again next Tuesday when the court is expected to make a ruling.