Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito who has personally taken up the prosecution of former President Rupiah Banda yesterday failed to turn up for plea in the case in which the former President has been accused of obtaining nine vehicles as gratification from SOGECOA Zambia Limited.
SOGECOA Zambia limited is a subsidiary of Anui Foreign Economic Construction Company a company contracted to construct the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The former President Banda was arrested on 15th April, 2013 for allegedly concealing gratification after he received the nine trucks at state house.
But soon after his arrest the Chinese Company SOGECOA Zambia said it donated nine trucks not as personal gratification.
The company directors said that the company could not pay any person in Zambia ‘truck gratification’ as it was involved in legal and clean business more so that the contract had been issued long before Mr.Banda became President.
But when the matter came up for plea yesterday, the prosecution team which was supposed to ne led by DPP Nchito was not before the court forcing the Principle Resident Magistrate Obister Musukwa to stand down the matter for 15 minutes.
Principal Resident Magistrate Musukwa expressed surprise that the prosecution was absent without any formal explanation to the court saying that it was disappointing and disrespectful for the prosecution to conduct itself in that manner.
An officer from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Makwini Zaza later apologized to the court for the delay and absence of the prosecution, saying that instruction had not been received from the DPP.
“It is disappointing and disrespectful for the prosecution to stay away from court when they know that the matter is supposed to be head in court. I reluctantly adjourn the matter to 8th July 2013 for plea,” said Principle Resident Magistrate Musukwa.
Former President Banda who arrived at the court slightly before 0830 hours was expected to take plea in a matter he is charged with having received nine trucks as “gratification” valued at K471 million.
The offence on the charge sheet is that Mr. Banda, 75 has been charged with Concealing Gratification contrary to section 36 of the Anti-Corruption Act number 38 of 2010.