Economy

Antonello Locci Drops Lawyers

Italian businessman Antonello Locci who is jointly charged with Former president Rupiah Banda’s son, Andrew has told his lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Erick Silwamba and Jack Mwiimbu to stop representing him in the corruption case.

Locci is charged with Andrew, who is former deputy High Commissioner to India, for allegedly solicitation of a two per cent cut on all payments made by Road Development Agency.

Andrew had appealed to the Supreme Court against Lusaka High Court judge Evans Hamaundu’s decision to refer back to chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda their corruption case because it had nothing to do with contravention of their fundamental rights.

Locci, through his lawyer, Silwamba, had applied before magistrate Banda that his charge be quashed because it was illegal as he was charged under the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act number 38 of 2010, which had been repealed by the recently enacted ACC Act number 3 of 2012 which arguments were also adopted by Banda’s lawyer, Sikota.

Magistrate Banda in his ruling had halted the criminal proceedings before him and referred the case to the High Court but judge Hamaundu sent it back to him saying the protection from being charged under a repelled law was not a right granted under any of the articles that protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of an individual.

When the case came up yesterday, Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito told the court that dates for trial were given which he understood were based on the outcome of the appeal in the Supreme Court undertaken by Locci.

Nchito said the state had, however, received a notice of withdrawal of Locci’s appeal, which was also confirmed by the master of the Supreme Court.

He said being the case and given that dates were already set, the state was ready to proceed.

Nchito added that he was mindful of judge Hamaundu’s ruling of October 3.

Judge Hamaundu in his ruling had stated that there was no ground for magistrate Banda to invoke Article 28 (2), adding that the lower court should be able to refer to the authorities cited by both the defence and state and arrive at a decision.

And Sikota informed the court that he, Eric Silwamba and Co and Jack Mwiimbu had instructions to stop representing Locci.
Sikota applied for leave to have their representation of Locci withdrawn from the record which magistrate Banda granted and adjourned the case to today.

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