Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zambia prosecutors 'biased' against ex-president's son

LUSAKA,

Lawyers for Zambia's ex-president Rupiah Banda accused prosecutors Thursday of pursuing his son on politically motivated charges of corruption in the sale of the national telecom firm to Libya's LAP Green.

"If you look at the way this matter is being handled by Zambia, you see all the hallmarks of a politically motivated farce," said Robert Amsterdam, of the British firm Amsterdam & Peroff, who represents both the former president and his son Henry.

"Mr Banda has never been questioned by the police about anything, while instead the state has conducted a trial by headline consisting of frequently changing accusations," he said.

"The fact that Zambia has refused to describe what Mr Banda is accused of should set off alarm bells. It is a clear sign that they lack any real case." "Mr Banda can hardly have any reasonable expectation of a fair judicial process, much less any fair treatment in the Zambian media," he added.

Henry Banda is living in South Africa. After his father lost elections in September 2011 the elite Government Investigative Wing announced that he was wanted for questioning over the $257-million sale of fixed-line operator Zamtel to the Libyan firm.

The new government of President Michael Sata has reversed the sale, a decision that LAP Green is challenging in court.

Both the home affairs and foreign ministry this week called on Henry Banda to return to Zambia to face the charges. Details of the indictment have not been released.

Henry Banda was instrumental in his father's unsuccessful election campaign last year. He left the country shortly after the defeat.

Sata has launched a broad crackdown on corruption since taking office, ranging from the sale of a bank to the theft of bicycles. Banda's allies claim they have been unfairly singled out. (AFP)

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