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Zambia’s Ex-President Granted Review Over Lifting of Immunity

Rupiah Banda, who ruled Zambia from 2008 to 2011, was granted a judicial review into the lifting of his immunity from prosecution, his lawyer said.

High Court Judge Annie Sitali will hold an inquiry into the removal of Banda’s immunity by parliament on March 15, Sakwiba Sikota said by mobile phone today from Lusaka, the capital. Sitali has not set a date and Banda’s criminal trial will continue, Sikota said.

Banda, who is accused of abusing his authority in connection with a Nigerian oil deal while he was in office, denies wrongdoing. He says he is being persecuted by President Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front government, which defeated him in September 2011 national elections.

The judge “found that there was sufficient cause to go into an inquiry on whether or not the process and procedures in lifting Rupiah Banda’s immunity were done correctly or not,” Sikota said.

Banda’s immunity was removed after 80 lawmakers voted in favor and three against. Nearly half the members of parliament were absent from the vote after opposition leaders walked out in protest.

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