Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cops lock up Chiluba, Regina

Cops lock up Chiluba, Regina
By Brighton Phiri and Bivan Saluseki
Tuesday September 04, 2007 [04:00]

Police yesterday briefly locked up former president Frederick Chiluba and his wife Regina in a cell at Lusaka's Woodlands Police Station before charging her with being in possession of property believed to have been stolen. And Chiluba revealed that he had documentary evidence to show who the true thieves are.

Meanwhile, Regina showered Task Force officers with abusive language when they asked her to accompany them to Woodlands Police Station.

The Task Force officers, accompanied by eight armed paramilitary officers, went to Chiluba's Kabulonga residence in Lusaka around 11:15 hours and requested Regina to accompany them to Woodlands Police Station. This was after Regina refused to avail herself for re-arrest following a Task Force call-out last Thursday.

Regina was recently discharged via a nolle prosequi on the same charges as she was arrested yesterday.

Task Force officers were met by Chiluba's special assistant for presss Emmanuel Mwamba, who advised them that Regina would only be available around 14:00 hours because she had to prepare and inform her lawyer Robert Simeza. But the officers refused and insisted on Regina accompanying them to the police station.
"We expected her to report at our offices at 10:00 hours and this is after 11:00 hours," said one of the officers.

After consultations, Mwamba later allowed five plainclothes officers inside Chiluba's residence. Around 12:00 hours, Simeza arrived and went in to discuss with the Task Force officers.

According to Mwamba, Simeza advised the Chilubas to proceed with the Task Force's plans to arrest Regina and that he would seek other means of addressing her concerns on the matter.

Mwamba explained that the Chilubas’ concern was that the Task Force had taken the case as licence to abuse and take away their rights without recourse to the law.
Around 12:30 hours, the Task Force officers came out of the house while Regina followed them behind, showering them with abusive language.

"You tell Max Nkole (Task Force chairman) that he must tell me what so sort of jail sentence he wants me to serve. I am not scared of jail sentence, I was born in Lubuto a compound in Ndola, I can't fear Mwanawasa's jail. Bushe elyo naupilwe kuli ba Chiluba, lisambi? Mwembwamwe! (You dogs, is it a sin for me to have married Chiluba? Am I the only one who got married to Chiluba and has property?" Regina yelled at the Task Force officers as Chiluba chimed in: "Times change, time will change, do not take things for granted."

At Woodlands Police Station, Chiluba and Regina were taken to the Criminal Investigations Officer (CIO)'s room where a warn and caution statement was recorded from Regina before she was formally arrested. The arresting officer then led Regina to the reception where her particulars were recorded in the Daily Occurrence Book.

The officer then told Regina that she would be ushered into a police cell while her lawyers negotiated for her police bond. The officer told Regina that she had to be detained in the cell because both the officer-in-charge and his deputy who should have authorised her police bond were out of the station.

It was at this stage that Chiluba openly protested and opted to join his wife in the cell. Regina was ushered into the cell at 13:25 hours. Chiluba followed her and the uncompromising police officer locked them up amid protests from Mwamba and Simeza.
"You cannot separate us," said Chiluba as he joined Regina in the cell.

In a seemingly solidarity gesture, Kasama Central Patriotic Front member of parliament Xavier Chishimba joined Chiluba and Regina in the cell.
Police officers told Chiluba and Chishimba that they were in the cell illegally, and that if they did not get out, they would be charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of peace so they could legally remain in the cell. However, Chiluba and Chishamba were not moved by this threat.

After 15 minutes behind bars, Chiluba and Regina were released and escorted to the CIO's office where Regina was granted a K300 million police bond with two sureties. Mwamba and Chishimba signed as Regina's sureties.
Earlier, Chiluba protested when the police attempted to block journalists from taking pictures.

"Please forgive me, allow them to have a field day...this is good documentary," said Chiluba before the police forced journalists out of the reception area.
"Times change, times have always changed...we have seen these things... kumulu lesa, panshi ni uyo wine...aliya...nabobene baleya nombaline [In heaven it's God, and on earth it is that one who is now gone... the one who is there will soon go too," said Chiluba in an apparent reference to Dr Kenneth Kaunda and President Levy Mwanawasa.

Chiluba later followed journalists outside where he briefly addressed them.
"These are very bad politics...you cannot continue to abuse the court process the way they are doing. This case had come to an end, this must come to an end," Chiluba said.
He said he was shocked with the government's shameless lies that he only travelled 11 times between 1991 and 2001 when he served as Republican president.

"As president of Zambia, I only travelled 11 times, therefore I had no allowances because I had only travelled 11 times? As chairman of the Congo peace process, Angola peace process, chairman of SADC, COMESA and AU, I travelled 11 times? Crazy! Crazy! And all of you including the police have television sets because we liberalised the economy.

Since 1991 when we liberalised the economy, everyone has managed to buy a television set. So the president can fail to buy a television set? Crazy!" Chiluba said. "This country will be very easy to tell the truth...to distinguish between the truth and lies because we have not been moving as blind men, we have documentary evidence to show the truth.

As former head of state, I know how to investigate these things. I have enough documentary evidence to show who the true thieves are. They have travelled all over in England to look for money and they found none. The FBI was involved and they went round and found nothing."

But Task Force chairman Nkole reminded Regina that there was rampant abuse of the judicial process during Chiluba's time. Nkole said there was no abuse of the court process this time.

"Perhaps the person saying that should be reminded that abuse of the judicial process was more rampant then," he said.
Nkole said during Chiluba's time, people were being detained for motor vehicle thefts indefinitely and without trial.

On Sunday, Regina said although she was summoned to appear before the Task Force for possible re-arrest, it was difficult for her to co-operate with the Task Force on the current matter as they were clearly abusing the constitutional powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) owing to the manner in which her case was withdrawn before court through a nolle prosequi.

But Nkole said there was no abuse on their part because the DPP exercised discretion of his office.

He said the Task Force could not force or coerce the DPP to enter a nolle prosequi. Nkole said Regina had been issued with a call-out and was supposed to have reported at 10:00 hours.
He said after she failed to appear, officers were dispatched to pick her up.

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