POLICE in Eastern Province have arrested aspiring PF Lusangazi council chairperson Patrick Banda for the offence of personation.

In a statement, Saturday, police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said police arrested Banda for allegedly using a Grade 12 certificate which did not belong to him during the nomination.

“Police have arrested Mr Patrick Banda, a Patriotic Front (PF) candidate for Lusangazi Council By-Election in Petauke. The accused is alleged to have used a Grade Twelve School Certificate which did not belong to him to file in nominations as Council Chairperson for Lusangazi district. Police have charged and arrested Mr Patrick Banda aged 35 of Show grounds Compound Petauke for the offence of Personation of a person named in certificate contrary to section 380 of the Penal Code of the Laws of Zambia,” said Hamoonga.

“He has since been remanded in Police Custody and will appear in court soon. Brief facts of the case are that on 30th September, 2021 the Electoral Commission of Zambia received nominations for Council Chairperson for the by- election to be held in Lusangazi District of Eastern Province of the Republic of Zambia. It was during this exercise that Mr Patrick Banda submitted a Grade 12 school certificate certified by the Examination Council of Zambia, purporting the same to be his when in fact not.”

Meanwhile, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) corporate affairs manager Patricia Luhanga refuted claims that it had instructed police to arrest Banda.

“The Electoral Commission of Zambia has noted with serious concern allegations circulating in the media that it has issued instructions to the Zambia Police to arrest Patriotic Front (PF) aspiring candidate for the Lusangazi Council Chairperson seat over an alleged fake Grade 12 Certificate. The Commission would like to categorically state that at no time has it issued instructions to the police to have the aspiring candidate arrested and that this news must be treated with the highest contempt,” she said in a separate statement.

She said however the Commission had received a complaint from the UPND over the matter.

“The Commission would however like to confirm that: (1) We received a written complaint from the United Party for National Development (UPND) who questioned the successful processing of the nomination of the PF candidate based on an alleged questionable Grade 12 Certificate. The Commission guided that in line with the provisions of article 52(4) of the Constitution Amendment No 2 of 2016, ‘A person may challenge before a court or tribunal as prescribed, the nomination of a candidate within seven days of the close of nomination and the court shall hear the case within twenty-one days of the lodgment’. The Party was advised to explore the avenue to allow for the due process of the law to be exhausted accordingly,” stated Luhanga.

“We further received correspondence from Zambia Police, Eastern Province Commanding Officer expressing interest to investigate the matter concerning the candidate’s Grade 12 Certificate. In response to this request, the Commission guided the Police on the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Process Act that make adequate grounds on challenging nominations and indeed elections on the basis of qualifications. The Commission reiterates its impartial stance in the conduct of electoral activities and wishes to remind aggrieved parties to utilise grievance procedures provided in the Constitution and the Electoral Process Act.”