Court rejects offer letter evidence in RB case

Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda yesterday rejected the State’s application to have the Offer Letter in the RB oil scandal admitted in court.

Magistrate Banda  said the Offer letter  could not be submitted in court as evidence from Nigerian Oil Company because no one from the Abuja government came to testify to confirm that indeed the letter was authentic.

The Magistrate also rejected a hand written note alleged to have been authored by the former President Rupiah Banda’s son, Henry because there was no foundation laid in court.

About the letter of offer that stipulates that the Nigerian government offered a government to government oil deal, Magistrate Banda said he could not admit it because it has no origin as no one from the Nigerian government came to testify.

Meanwhile Magistrate Banda has accepted 10 other documents among them a contract between a Nigerian Company called SARB Energy and Major Richard Kachingwe.

Other documents admitted to court were a photocopy of a power of attorney drafted by former Energy Minister Kenneth Konga to Richard Kachingwe, and a bank transmission notice of US $ 500,000 from SARB Energy a company owned by a Nigerian Akpan Ekpene to Aexora a company owned by Henry Banda.

This follows an objection that the defence had entered last month that the arresting officer Mr. Friday Tembo could not produce photocopies in court because he failed to prove that he conducted a diligent search for the originals.

The defence also submitted that the arresting officer had failed to meet the minimum standards under the Authentification of Documents Act for foreign documents, Electronic communication and transaction Act for electronic mail print-out and the Bankers Act for the bank documents.

However, Magistrate Banda in his his ruling said he had considered several ingredients to ascertain the originality of the production of documents among them admissibility, relevance, credibility, reliance and value to the case.

He said in his considered view, the arresting officer had made efforts to get original copies but failed, and that on the power of attorney, money transfer to Henry’s company and the contract, Major Kachingwe, Mr. Konga and Mr. Akpan Ekpene had been to court to testify as such he was going to admit the photocopies.

Former President Rupiah Banda is accused of having diverted the benefits of a Nigeria to Zambia oil deal to his family.  Earlier in the year, Akpan Ekpene testified to the court that the Zambian government had never paid for any oil in Nigeria and that discussions were going on with the current government to conclude the deal.

Mr. Ekpene also told the court that the said U S$500,000 he transmitted to Henry Banda’s account was his donation towards campaigns for the 2011 elections.

While the prosecution is headed by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito former president Banda was being represented by Professor Patrick Mvunga, Sakwiba Sikota, Erick Silwamba, Stephen Lungu, Ireen Kunda, Lubinda Linyama and Makebi Zulu. The matter comes up today for cross examining the State’s last witness who is the arresting officer Mr. Tembo.