Embattled ex-Zambian president Rupiah Banda was rearrested on Monday and slapped with fresh graft charges linked to the acquisition of nine trucks for his 2011 re-election campaign, investigators said.
“The former president, Rupiah Banda has today been formally charged and arrested in connection with nine light trucks which he received from a construction company that was constructing a stadium,” said Namukolo Kasumpa, a spokeswoman for the Government Joint Investigations Team.
The 76-year-old who ruled Zambia from 2008 to 2011 was stripped of his presidential immunity last month and now faces a string of corruption related charges. According to Kasumpa, the trucks were used for political campaigning in an election Banda lost to former opposition leader Michael Sata. He was freed on bail and will appear in court April 30. The latest arrest came shortly after he was questioned by investigators over his role in a sale of land to an Egyptian investor.
He is also being tried for profiting from a Nigerian crude oil contract which also said to have benefited his family members He has denied all the charges, calling his prosecution a political witch-hunt by Sata’s administration, which critics say wants to silence dissenting voices. Since Sata came to power he has rolled out an anti-corruption drive that has seen senior politicians and diplomats hauled before courts.
Last week Banda won the right to challenge parliament’s decision to remove his immunity, as a judge found that lawmakers erred in voting on the matter. AFP