The Government Joint Investigative Team (GJIT) in Lusaka has arrested former president Rupiah Banda and also seized his passport.
Both GJIT spokesperson and Banda’s lawyers confirmed the arrest in separate interviews today and said the former Head of State had been released on police bond in his own recognisance.
Banda was arrested on charges relating to the Oil deal involving a Nigerian firm, while other charges pertaining to the campaign materials and the Mpundu Trust investment have been put aside.
Addressing journalists after his arrest Banda said the State would not find him with any case to answer because he was innocent.
“I would have loved to be home, but I am a law abiding citizen. That is why I came here to go through this procedure. Tomorrow I will be at court but of course they will not find any case to answer,” Banda said to his jubilant supporters.
He urged his sympathizers to remain calm.
“I am repeating my plea, please remain calm even under provocation, this will come to an end. I am thankful to my lawyers who are doing a good job,” Banda said.
Asked how the arrest was going to affect his responsibility as an international elections observer, Banda said the whole world was behind him.
“They have gotten my passport, but there is no problem, I will apply for it if they give me, I will continue with my work, if they don’t give me, there is nothing I can do,” Banda said.
His lawyer Sakwiba Sikota said the State had failed to gather sufficient evidence it was looking for from the “fishing expedition” hence the decision to restrict the charges to one indictment.
“You can see that there is nothing and his Excellency has remained calm.
They have decided to effect an arrest and tomorrow we will be going to court. I ask you who are willing to show your solidarity to come to the Magistrate Court tomorrow,” he said.
Parliament lifted Banda’s presidential immunity on March 15, 2013, but he is challenging the move in the Lusaka High Court.
He contends that the decision by the Speaker of National Assembly to allow Justice minister to move the motion that led to his immunity being lifted was irregular and illegal.