10 May 2013 – The recent decision by Interpol to halt the case against Henry Banda, the son of the former President Rupiah Banda, stands as an indication of the politically motivated and groundless defamation campaign against his family waged by the current government of Zambia, says his lawyer Robert Amsterdam, of Amsterdam & Partners LLP.
According to a letter from Interpol delivered to counsel representing Mr. Banda on 22 April 2013, which was first reported in the South African newspaper the Mail & Guardian, an investigation into the case notes had “raised strong doubts concerning compliance with Interpol rules.”
“We are very pleased to announce this development, and to know that Henry Banda is finally free from this manipulative, politically motivated abuse of the Interpol system by an irresponsible government,” said Amsterdam. “We demand that President Michael Sata, Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba, and Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito issue a public apology to Henry Banda for all their misleading statements.”
As detailed in the Mail & Guardian article, over the course of more than 16 months, the Zambian authorities neglected to provide any description of the allegations, present any evidence, and never requested extradition from South Africa. According to Mr. Amsterdam, the Zambian government was sent two separate letters in February 2012 and March 2012 requesting more details and offering full cooperation by Mr. Banda to answer any questions they may have had, however these communications went unanswered.
“The Patriotic Front government’s failure to respond to any request for information, including numerous opportunities from Interpol to formalize their case, speaks louder than words: there was never any intention of bringing a case against Henry Banda for non-existent crimes, but rather only to defame him in the media,” Amsterdam said. “This development should raise many questions concerning the government’s intentions with regard to current processes being pursued against former President Banda.”
On March 15, during a controversial parliamentary hearing to remove former President Banda’s immunity, Zambia’s Minister of Justice Kabimba declared that the state had “completed” its investigations into these matters and was “ready” to begin prosecution. However, despite numerous references to Henry Banda by the state throughout these proceedings, no evidence has been presented and there hasn’t been any charge.
“In light of the Patriotic Front government’s unlawful handling of this case, there can no longer be any doubt regarding their political motivations. It is no longer possible for the international community to consider their accusations against political opponents at face value considering this staggering credibility deficit,” said Amsterdam.