Zambia ex-leader pleads not guilty to graft
05 November 2013, 19:59
Lusaka - Zambia's embattled ex-president Rupiah Banda
pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of illicitly receiving election campaign
vehicles from a Chinese-linked construction firm.
Banda, who ruled Zambia between 2008 and 2011, is accused of
receiving 10 trucks from the local subsidiaries of China's Anhui Foreign
Economic Construction Group.
"I understand the charge your honour and I plead not
guilty," Banda said after the magistrate read the charge.
The 76-year-old also pleaded not guilty to a second charge
of concealing the fact he received the trucks by registering them under the
names of family members and a supporter.
It is alleged that the former leader used the vehicles,
including Mitsubishi Canters and Fuso Fighters, in his 2011 re-election
campaign, which he lost to current president Michael Sata.
Since Sata came to power he has rolled out an
anti-corruption drive that has seen senior politicians and diplomats hauled
But critics accuse him of using the campaign as an excuse to
clamp down on critics, including launching a slew of charges against Banda.
The former president has been accused of personally
benefiting from a $2.5m oil deal and has been blocked from leaving the country
three times since April.
The trial was set for 26 November and Banda was released on