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Investigators quiz Rupiah Banda

18 March 2013, 13:00

Lusaka - Zambia's former president Rupiah Banda appeared before government investigators for questioning Monday, just days after parliament voted to strip his immunity from prosecution.

Banda - who ruled the country from 2008 to 2011 - is due to answer allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud, which his lawyers say are part of a political ploy to silence dissenting views.

It was not immediately clear whether he was to be arrested.

Banda lost to rival Michael Sata in 2011 elections, which at the time were lauded as a model in peaceful handover of power in Africa.

But Sata has since launched an anti-corruption drive seen by many as a scheme to silence dissenting views.

On Friday - with the backing of Sata's party - parliament voted to strip Banda of his presidential immunity.

The former president's lawyer Robert Amsterdam described the case against his client as "a crass political strategy aimed at removing potential competitors".

But Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba has claimed that when he was president, Banda engaged in corrupt activities in the procurement of crude oil from a Nigerian firm.

He also accuses him of funnelling taxpayer cash into his election campaigns.

Corruption watchdog Transparency International has supported calls for lifting Banda's immunity so he can answer the charges against him.



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