Zambian ex-leader Banda summoned in corruption probe
LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia has summoned former President Rupiah Banda for questioning over alleged corruption, investigators said on Saturday, a day after parliament stripped him of immunity from prosecution.
The summons could mean government is preparing official charges against Banda, who has been accused of abuse of office and the misappropriation of more than $11 million of public funds during his three years as president.
"I can confirm that the former president has been summoned to appear before us for questioning on Monday," said Namukolo Kasumpa, a spokeswoman for the government investigation team.
Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba said on Friday the government had concluded investigations and was ready to prosecute.
Banda's lawyer Robert Amsterdam, in a statement on Saturday, accused President Michael Sata's government of launching a "witch hunt" against Banda, who ruled the southern African country from 2008 to 2011.
Banda was swept from office in 2011 by Sata, whose government has launched several high-profile corruption probes into deals struck by the former administration while it ran Africa's biggest copper-producing country.
Sata's government has already won convictions against a few Banda officials and has been investigating suspected shortfalls in tax collection revenues from copper.
In February, Banda, who then enjoyed immunity from prosecution, refused to appear before a team of investigators which summoned him for questioning.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by David Dolan and Mark Trevelyan)
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