THE verdict in former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba’s trial has been postponed until tomorrow , in what has been described as a landmark corruption case for an African ex-head of state.
Chiluba is still popular among Zambia’s poor, despite charges of stealing nearly 500000 of public funds. A tough sentence may stir political tension in Africa’s biggest copper producer, whose population is among the world’s poorest.
Magistrate Jones Chinyama told the court he would deliver the verdict tomorrow , instead of Friday as had been expected.
Chiluba denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a political campaign by opponents to ruin him.
Chiluba led Zambia for a decade, after ousting liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia’s multiparty elections in 1991.The former trade unionist was hailed as a democrat after helping to dismantle Kaunda’s communist single-party rule, which lasted 27 years.
In the past six years, Zambia has jailed several prominent figures, including senior officials and ministers who served under Chiluba’s 10-year administration, which ended in 2001.
Chiluba’s wife, Regina, was jailed for three and half years for corruption in March. She has appealed against the verdict to the high court, which has yet to make a final decision.
If convicted, Chiluba could face a maximum of 15 years in jail.
He will likely appeal any possible conviction and remain free on bail. — Reuters
Monday, August 17, 2009
Corruption in Zambia:D-day looms for Chiluba
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