Zambia Police looking for Former President Rupiah Banda’s Son Henry Banda
Zambia Police is asking the general public to help them find the son of former President Rupiah Banda, Henry, whom they need for urgent questioning. In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, acting police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said that “call outs” or “orders” have been issued for Henry through his representatives but he has not responded to them by reporting to police, as required by the law.
“We are appealing to members of the public who may know the whereabouts of Henry to come forth and tell us where he is,” Mr Hamoonga said.
The police spokesperson also confirmed that Henry has already appeared “once before police” for questioning but declined to explain why the police were interested in the former President’s son saying any disclosure could “jeorpadise” investigations.
Mr Hamoonga said the search for Henry has been going on for a while now, without much success. “I cannot give you any further details because it will jeopardise the probe. We don’t want to cause alarm,” Mr Hamoonga said.
Mr Hamoonga said the police will take “further action” if Henry does not hand himself over to the police sooner than later. The action was not specified.
Initially, Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota had been handed Henry’s summons after officers failed to find him but Mr Sikota told the newspaper: “Henry Banda is not my client…I don’t know how the police made this mistake but I will try and see if I can give the call-out to someone who may know where to take it…I have not been able to find him myself because he is not my client.”
Henry’s name has been popping up every time RP Capital – the company single-sourced to evaluate Zamtel assets – has been raised alleging that himself and Petauke member of Parliament Dora Siliya “engineered” the US$2.5million transaction.
Facts remain vague but newspaper reports in the past further suggested that Mr Banda and the outspoken Petauke legislator could have “illegally” put the deal together.
Zambia Daily Mail efforts to reach Henry failed yesterday but sources suggested that the former President’s son could have relocated to South Africa after his father lost office to President Michael Sata.
Home Affairs Minister Kennedy Sakeni, when reached via phone yesterday, said: “I think I would rather leave this issue (of Henry) at this stage in the hands of the police…if I comment, it may appear as if I am interfering. The police must explain what has happened, not me as Minister of Home Affairs.”
Although his public profile was not as high as that of his older brother, James, during his father’s administration, Henry is reputed by those close to him such as friends and admirers as the “business architect” of the former first family who could have tied together, among others, the RP Capital deal.
Transparency International Zambia president Reuben Lifuka in an interview yesterday told the Daily Mail: “Henry must immediately report to police and answer charges and clear his name instead of staying away because that can be misinterpreted to mean a lot of things.”
Mr Lifuka said being summoned to police does not mean: “You are guilty at all. It simply means police need help with investigations and staying away just frustrates investigations in my view. It can also compel police to take extreme measures.”
Police have not stated what the next step will be but lawyers interviewed by the Daily Mail suggested that a warrant of arrest could be issued with Henry’s name on it if the absence persists without a legally acceptable explanation.
President Sata has embarked on a corruption fight which he says will not spare friends, relatives or members of his own Government as he tries to create jobs and fight poverty.
[Zambia Daily Mail]