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Banda faces second day of questions in corruption probe

The former Zambian president was stripped of immunity from prosecution Friday

Amid tight security, former Zambian President Rupiah Banda appeared before investigators for a second day Tuesday after being stripped of immunity from prosecution in a probe of corruption and misappropriation of financial resources, including the sale of the Zambia Telecommunication Company.

The former minister of Communication and Transport was previously questioned over the sale of the company for US$257 million in 2010 to Lap Green Networks, a Sub-Saharan mobile operator in Libya. The new Zambian government has since reversed the sale of the company, claiming it was flawed because the proper procedure was not followed. Banda's government contends the sale of the only Zambia service provider was necessary to keep it from closing.

Lawmakers late Friday revoked Banda's immunity from prosecution amid allegations from the current government of corruption and misappropriation of the Southern African country's financial resources. Minister of Justice Winter Kabimba presented the motion in Parliament to remove Banda's immunity in a bid to make the former president accountable for multiple alleged offenses.

Besides accusations related to the telco sale, Banda is accused of entering into an illegal oil contract with a Nigerian firm and allegedly depositing proceeds from that deal into an offshore account, as well as improprieties related to loans obtained by him and his family.

Lap Green Networks is contesting reversal of the sale of the Zambia Telecommunication Company in court, in an attempt to force the government to permit the deal, but the government has said it is prepared only to refund Lap Green Networks.

Banda was president from 2008 to 2011 when he lost the election to opposition leader Michael Sata.

After being questioned Monday, Banda spoke to reporters, saying, "I urge all Zambians to remain calm, united and peaceful even under extreme provocation."


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