Rupiah Banda pleads not guilty to abuse of office charges

Zambia's ex-President Rupiah Banda has pleaded not guilty to a charge of abuse of power during his time in office.

The charges relate to an oil deal signed with a Nigerian company, which prosecutors say was meant to benefit Mr Banda (pictured centre) and his family.

Speaking to journalists after appearing in court, Banda said he had confidence in the Zambian judiciary and that the truth would vindicate him.

"Yes, of course I have confidence in the judiciary that is why I came. When this case started, I was not in the country, but I came so that I could go through this process," he said.

Banda however said he still felt persecuted by the government, believing the charges were part of a political witch-hunt against him and his allies.

"As you can see that at the same time all the leaders of the opposition are here at court with different charges. This has never happened in the history of the country," Banda said.

After three years in power, Mr Banda lost the 2011 election to Michael Sata.

He was arrested and questioned for nearly three hours before being freed on bail on Monday.

Earlier this month the 76-year-old was stripped of presidential immunity.

The case has been adjourned to April 3.

Image: © Getty

Copyright is owned by Africa Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.