LUSAKA (Reuters) – Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda, 85, died on Friday after a battle with colon cancer, his son told Reuters.

“He passed away at around 7 p.m. today,” Banda’s second oldest child, Andrew, said, confirming the death.

Banda, Zambia’s fourth president who was in power from 2008 to 2011, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and was receiving medical treatment.

He held high-level diplomatic posts under the first President Kenneth Kaunda before eventually being named Vice President in 2006 by President Levy Mwanawasa.

Banda took over the presidential reins in mid-2008 in an interim capacity when Mwanawasa suffered a stroke. Banda then narrowly won the October elections of the same year on a ruling party ticket.

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But his tenure was marred by corruption allegations and in 2013 Zambia’s parliament waived Banda’s immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offences.

Banda has been charged with abuse of power, corrupt acquisition of public property and embezzlement of public funds involving more than $11 million during his tenure as president, but has never been convicted in court and has never served no prison sentence.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Wendell Roelf, Leslie Adler and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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