Africa

Zambia ex-President Banda denies truck fraud

Former Zambia President Rupiah Banda talks to sympathisers outside the Lusaka magistrate court on 5 November 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rupiah Banda was stripped of his immunity from prosecution in March

Zambia's former President Rupiah Banda has pleaded not guilty to a charge of corruption alleged to have occurred during the 2011 election campaign.

The 76-year-old is accused of receiving 10 trucks from a local subsidiary of a Chinese construction firm and failing to declare them.

After three years in power, Mr Banda lost the 2011 election to Michael Sata.

This is the second case of corruption he has faced since being stripped of his presidential immunity in March.

"I understand the charge your honour and I plead not guilty," Mr Banda said after the magistrate read out the allegations, the AFP news agency reports.

It is alleged the former president registered the trucks he received from a subsidiary of Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group under the names of family members and a supporter and then used them during campaigning in 2011, the agency reports.

President Sata's government has launched a high-profile investigation into allegations of corruption by members of Mr Banda's administration.

But critics accuse him of using the campaign to clamp down on critics.

In March, Mr Banda pleaded not guilty to charges relating to an oil deal signed with a Nigerian company, which prosecutors believe was meant to benefit Mr Banda and his family.

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