14 February 2014

Zambia: Rupiah Banda's Son Jailed

FORMER republican president, Rupiah Banda's son, Andrew has been jailed for two years with hard labour for engaging in corruption.

Andrew, 53, has been convicted for soliciting a two per cent bribe on all monies paid by Road Development Agency (RDA) to an Italian investor, Fratelli Locci SRI Limited after he helped him invest in Zambia.

Lusaka chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda said in his judgment yesterday that Andrew used his position as first secretary at the Zambian embassy in Italy to solicit for a bribe for his personal gain.

Andrew, the former deputy high commissioner to India and later first secretary for politics at the Zambian Embassy in Italy solicited and partially received gratification for giving assistance with regard to contracts awarded to the Locci family by RDA.

Mr Banda said there was everything irregular about Andrew's conduct because his portfolio at the Embassy was not for trade and economics but that of being in charge of politics and administration and his involvement in finding investors for the country was highly suspicious.

"There is everything irregular about what transpired in this matter... in my view the offence the accused is alleged to have committed is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

"All in all, I am satisfied that the State had proved its case beyond any reasonable doubt and I find the accused guilty and convict him accordingly," Mr Banda said.

He said that while in Italy, Andrew met with RDA officials and the Locci family whom he later engaged into talks of business in Zambia and later signed an agreement on how he was going to be paid for helping them obtain the business.

He said that the sequence of events told a clear story that Andrew solicited to get financial benefits in a corrupt manner although there was a relationship with the Locci which on the face of it appeared to be a legitimate business.

He said that although Andrew had claimed that the monies that were paid to his company, AB Logistics by Locci was for transportation services his company rendered, two invoices produced to the court showed the amount of K26,000 and saying the money that was remitted was more.

Mr Banda said AB Logistics was an artificial legal entity which should not be blamed for illegal transaction but the agents of that company should be responsible for the activities.

Mr Banda said there was also evidence of Andrew instructing his wife to accompany Locci from Italy to come and meet with Government officials in Zambia as well as the fact that the Locci Company in Zambia was physically housed at the same residence with his company AB logistics.

When asked for his comment about the outcome of the judgment, Andrew said "for now I remain mute. I will not comment I have a lawyer over there".

Andrew clad in a charcoal grey stripped suit later walked in the company of security men to the Chimbokaila prison where he was expected to serve his sentence effective yesterday.

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