RULING on whether or not former president Rupiah Banda's application to refer his abuse of authority of office case to the High Court to determine constitutional issues has been adjourned to April 22, 2013.
In this case which is before Lusaka chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda, the former head of state through his lawyers led by Professor Patrick Mvunga had applied for the constitutional reference of the matter to the High Court on grounds that Banda was charged under a repealed law.
Banda is charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to section 99 (1) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that Banda on unknown dates but between May 1, 2008 and September 24, 2011 in Lusaka, being a person employed as President of the Republic of Zambia did abuse the authority of his office by procuring a Nigerian Government to Government oil contract which he in fact meant to benefit himself and his family whereby he instructed his son Henry Chikomeni Banda to determine the destination of the funds which were the proceeds of the said contract as a result of which instruction the Republic of Zambia did not receive any benefit from the said contract, an act which is arbitrary and prejudicial to the interests of the Republic of Zambia.
Banda pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Banda's lawyers had argued that their client was charged under a repealed law.
But Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito submitted that there were no constitutional issues in the case before court.
Banda yesterday appeared for mention before principal resident magistrate Aridah Chuulu because magistrate Banda was not present to deliver the ruling as he was attending the national convention at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
Magistrate Chuulu told Banda that magistrate Banda was not available but had set April 22 as date for ruling and she extended Banda's bond.
And Banda, who was accompanied by his wife Thandiwe, MMD leader Nevers Mumba among others, thanked his sympathisers for coming to court.