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Zambia - Watchdog Transparency International Zambia said on Saturday that it supports calls for lifting the immunity of the country's former president Rupiah Banda so that he can answer corruption charges.
“As TIZ we support calls to have the immunity of president Banda removed. This will accord him an opportunity to clear his name against all the corruption charges that he is associated with,” TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu told AFP.
In the past week, some civil society organisations and government officials have called for stripping Banda, who took office in 2008 but lost power during the 2011 elections to Michael Sata, of his immunity so that he answer corruption charges.
On Thursday, President Sata said that Banda was in South Africa to seek political asylum, but Banda denied late on Friday that his trip to South Africa was to seek political asylum.
“I wholly reject this deliberate misinformation. I have been on a trip that was planned long ago, at the completion of which I intend to return to Zambia. Any statements that have been made regarding fabricated ideas of 'asylum' or 'charges' have no basis in fact”, said Banda.
One of Banda's lawyers, Sakwiba Sikota, said earlier this month his client would not appear before an anti-corruption panel because he enjoys presidential immunity for any offences committed during his time in office.
But the head of Zambia's anti-corruption commission, Rosewin Wandi, said Banda was wanted to answer charges into “allegations of corruption and other criminal activities” in which he had been named.
Details of the allegations against Banda were not disclosed. - Sapa-AFP