Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda has thrown out an application by Andrew Banda and business executive Antonello Locci in which they want the court to quash their corruption charges.They two had claimed they were charged under a repealed law.
This is in a matter in which Banda, son of former Republican President Rupiah Banda, and Locci, director of Italian construction company Frattelli Locci, SRI are jointly charged with two counts of gratification for giving assistance.
Banda and Locci had recently asked the court to quash their indictment on the basis that they were charged under the Anti -Corruption Act number 38 of 2010 which has since been repealed.The magistrate invoked Article 28 (2) of the Constitution and referred the matter to the High Court for the determination of Constitutional matters.
High Court Judge Evans Hamaundu in his ruling said he did not see any constitutional issues.Mr Justice Hamaundu referred the matter back to the magistrate’s court to deal with the application.But Mr Banda in his ruling yesterday said he agreed with the prosecution that the rule was not to legitimise offences committed before the repealed law.
“Given that I have said sections 14 )3) (e) of chapter 2 and section 95 (1) (2) of Act number 3 of 2012 including the South African Constitutional case I have referred to, provide sufficient legal basis upon which to arraign accused persons on the law that had been repealed.
“The new Act cannot be used to charge the accused persons for things done before its enactment.”
Mr Banda said there was a common principle that prohibits retrospective application of criminal laws and as such the duo’s prayer that the charges be quashed could not stand.Particulars in the first count are that Banda, being a First Secretary at the Zambian Embassy in Italy and later Deputy High Commissioner to India, solicited and agreed to receive gratification from Locci amounting to two per cent of all money paid to Frattelli Locci SRI by the Road Development Agency (RDA).
In the second count, Locci on the same dates in Lusaka is alleged to have agreed to give gratification to Banda amounting to two per cent of all money paid to his firm by RDA.
The matter comes up on November 27, 2012.
[Times of Zambia]