Nigeria oil deal was hazy, says witness

THE government-to-government oil deal between Nigeria and Zambia was “hazy”, a State witness told the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
This is in a matter in which former President Rupiah Banda is charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to the law.
When the matter came up for cross examination before chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda, Friday Tembo, an arresting officer from the Government joint investigations team, said that the deal was “shrouded in secrecy”.
Mr Tembo said government procurements are supposed to be overt but the oil deal was hazy.
He said Mr Banda had appointed only one person to handle the deal and that even the former minister of Energy, Kenneth Konga, performed only a certain part of the transaction and was not involved in the entire process.
Mr Tembo said he made up his mind to arrest Banda after investigations revealed that he had allegedly abused the authority of his office and that he did not charge him with theft.
He said he did not produce documents highlighting where the proceeds went after the deal was concluded because it would not add weight to his case as he was investigating abuse of authority of office and not theft.
Mr Tembo said the oil deal was supposed to benefit the Zambian government, but alleged that Banda took advantage and procured the oil for his personal benefit.
He said Banda benefited from the deal when he directed his son, Henry, to determine where the money from the deal was to be channelled.
Banda allegedly procured a government-to-government oil contract in the name of the Republic of Zambia, “which he in fact meant to benefit himself and his family”.
He is accused of instructing his son, Henry, to determine the destination of the proceeds of this contract, an instruction from which the republic of Zambia did not receive any benefit.
Banda’s alleged act is “arbitrary and prejudicial to the interests of the republic of Zambia”.

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