Lusaka - Zambia's police have arrested the son of former President Rupiah Banda on suspicion of receiving bribes from an Italian construction company, a police spokeswoman said on Friday.

The lawyer for Andrew Banda said the arrest is a politically motivated move from current President Michael Sata, who was elected in September with pledges to crack down on shady deals in Africa's top copper.

“Andrew Banda has been formally arrested and charged for corrupt practices and being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime,” police spokeswoman Namukolo Kasumpa said in a statement.

Lawyer Sakwiba Sikota told Reuters: “It was clear from the start that this is case of political persecution. The evidence that will come out in court will vindicate my client”.

In a separate case last month, a court convicted a minister in the former government of illegally siphoning off 2.1 billion kwacha ($400,000) and burying the cash on his farm. - Reuters