Lusaka - A Zambian ex-diplomat and son of former president Rupiah Banda was on Friday sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of corruption.

Andrew Banda, 53, was arrested in 2012 on charges of soliciting a kickback from Italian company Fratelli Locci, which was awarded a contract to build roads.

In passing the sentence, Magistrate Joshua Banda said he had considered mitigation presented by the defence that the accused was a first time offender.

But he said a “custodial sentence” was necessary and “therefore I sentence the accused to 24 months effective today, but both parties are at liberty to appeal.”

The court also found him guilty of failing to account for 360 000 kwacha (63 000 dollars/46 000 euros) found in his possession, which is suspected to have been proceeds of criminal activities.

Banda, a former deputy high commissioner to India and former first secretary at Zambia's mission in Italy, is one of the many officials from Banda's adminstration charged with graft, after a massive clean-up campaign launched by President Michael Sata after he came to power in 2011.

His father, the former president, and younger brother Henry are also facing corruption charges.

Henry Banda, believed to be hiding in neighbouring South Africa, is still being sought by authorities.

Andrew Banda, who did not indicate if he intends to appeal the sentence, had earlier told AFP that he was ready for anything.

Sapa-AFP