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Lusaka (AFP) Nov 26, 2013
Zambian prosecutors charged the representative of a Chinese construction company with graft Tuesday, in a case involving embattled ex-president Rupiah Banda.
Jack Gao, who represents local subsidiaries of China's Anhui Foreign Economic Construction group, is accused of giving Banda 10 campaign trucks during his failed re-election bid.
Earlier this month, Banda pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His trial was scheduled to start Tuesday, but instead prosecutors informed magistrate Obister Musukwa that the two men would be charged jointly.
"Pursuant to the powers vested in me by the Anti-Corruption Act I do hereby sanction the prosecution of Sogecoa Zambia Limited and Sogecoa Construction and Engineering Investment Limited for one count of offence of corrupt practices with a public officer," read the court documents signed by chief prosecutor Mutembo Nchito.
Gao, the representative of the Sogecoa companies, appeared shaken in court as his lawyers asked for an adjournment, which was granted until November 28.
It is alleged that the former leader used the vehicles, including Mitsubishi Canters and Fuso Fighters, in his 2011 re-election campaign, which he lost to current President Michael Sata.
Sata has previously demonstrated he is not afraid to take on Chinese interests in the country, a policy that earns him popularity at home.
His government recently seized control of a Chinese-owned coal company due to poor compliance with safety and environmental standards.
When running for office Sata railed against the growing Chinese presence in Zambia.
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