Zambia ex-leader Banda arrested

AFP-JIJI

Former Zambian leader Rupiah Banda was arrested Monday and charged with abuse of authority over an oil deal struck with a Nigerian firm while he was in power, an investigator said.

“President Rupiah Banda has been formally charged and arrested in connection with the procurement of oil that did not benefit the country,” said Namukolo Kasumpa, a spokeswoman for government investigators.

He was immediately freed on bail and was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

The arrest came after Parliament earlier this month lifted Banda’s immunity. The former leader who ruled Zambia between 2008 and 2011 was promptly questioned about allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud.

He lost power in an election to the incumbent president, Michael Sata.

Banda’s lawyers claim the accusations are part of a ploy by Sata to silence opposition to his rule.