The Post Newspapers Zambia
By Namatama Mundia on Wednesday 28 November 2012, 14:10:00 CAT (8643 Reads)
FILE: Andrew Banda with his lawyer Sakwiba Sikota - Picture by Joseph Mwenda
ITALIAN businessman Antonello Locci's son Alexandro, yesterday told the court that Andrew Banda arranged a meeting at State House to introduce Fratelli Locci SRI Limited to former president Rupiah Banda.
Alexandro, 39, a technical director at Fratelli Locci was testifying in the case where his father Locci, 73, is jointly charged with Andrew, the former deputy high commissioner to India and former president Banda's son, for solicitation of a two per cent cut on all payments made by the Road Development Agency (RDA).
In the first count, it is alleged that Andrew, being a public officer as first secretary at the Zambian Embassy in Italy and later deputy high commissioner to India, solicited and agreed to receive gratification from Locci amounting to two per cent of all monies paid to Frattelli Locci SRI by RDA.
It is alleged in the second count that Locci on the same dates in Lusaka, agreed to give gratification to Andrew amounting to two per cent of all monies paid to Fratelli Locci SRI by RDA.
During examination-in-chief led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito, Alexandro told chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda that the purpose of the meeting which Andrew arranged at State House was to introduce Fratelli Locci Limited because they had intentions to work and invest in Zambia.
Asked what significant meeting he recalled attending in Zambia, Alexandro said he had technical meetings with RDA.
He said he came to State House to introduce his father's company.
"Mr Mondoloka (late former RDA chairman Luambe Mondoloka) went with me to State House and a consultant Paulo Elise," Alexandro said.
Alexandro said Mondoloka, who had gone to Italy, was the same man he went with to State House.
He said at the point of the meeting at State House, Fratelli Locci Limited did not have a contract with the RDA adding that his father's company did not also have a contract the time the RDA delegation, led by Mondoloka, travelled to Italy.
Earlier, Alexandro told the court how he first met Andrew at the Zambian Embassy in Italy.
He said he met Andrew in an official capacity, saying there was also another officer from Zambia.
Alexandro further said Mondoloka, a Mr Nyangu and another person whom he could not remember went to Italy and the purpose was to check the road works which Fratelli Locci Limited had done in that country.
When cross-examined by Andrew's lawyer Sakwiba Sikota, Alexandro said he came to Zambia in 2006 to see the country and visit friends.
He said the friend he came to see was a Mr Ghiradi, an Italian businessman and the trip was paid for by himself.
Alexandro said he did not know Andrew in 2006.
He said he was aware Ghiradi introduced Andrew to Locci.
Alexandro said he was not aware that Fratelli Locci Limited had asked Andrew to assist the company to look for investment opportunities in Zambia.
Asked if he was aware that Fratelli Locci sought to have a contract with KCM, Alexandro responded in the affirmative but added that he did not know who introduced the company to the mining firm.
He said he was not in a position to dispute that it was Andrew who facilitated meetings for Fratelli Locci and KCM.
Alexandro said it was Ghiradi who introduced him and his father to Andrew.
He also said RDA paid for its trip to Italy saying he did not know who suggested that RDA should travel to Italy to check on the road works of Fratelli Locci.
Alexandro told the court that he was technical director at Fratelli and did not know if any payment was made to any RDA official.
He said Elise told him that the meeting at State House was arranged by Andrew but added that he did not know if the later was in the country during that time.
Alexandro said he did not offer Banda any money or gift for him to award Fratelli the contract.
He said his father did not offer Banda any bribe and that he was not even at the State House meeting.
Alexandro said he did not also offer Mondoloka any money for him to offer Fratelli a contract.
He agreed with Sikota that the meeting at State House was purely about introducing Fratelli to the Zambian government.
Trial continues tomorrow.