Monday, February 18, 2008

'Case to answer' celebrations anger Chiluba

'Case to answer' celebrations anger Chiluba
By Laura Mushaukwa and Maluba Jere
Monday February 18, 2008 [03:00] P

Former president Frederick Chiluba yesterday said he was saddened by comments from people who are celebrating his being found with a case to answer in his theft by public servant case. And Task Force on Corruption chairman Maxwell Nkole yesterday said they were ready for Chiluba’s defence team.

Registering displeasure through his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba at the remarks made by Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu and Women for Change executive director Emily Sikazwe over the ruling, Chiluba said he was saddened by the remarks because there was no reason for people to celebrate since the matter was still in court.

He asked people to restrain from commenting on the court ruling where he was found with a case to answer on six counts of theft involving about US $500,000. He said this was important because the case was not yet over and he was innocent until proven guilty.

On Saturday, Lungu said the ruling against Chiluba was a boost to the fight against corruption and Emily Sikazwe said the court ruling had vindicated the people who had called Chiluba a thief.

But Chiluba said such kind of comments bordered on contempt of court.
Last Friday, Ndola High Court Deputy Registrar, Jones Chinyama sitting as a magistrate in Lusaka, found Chiluba with a case to answer on all six counts of theft by public servant after a prima facie case was established against him.

And commenting on the ruling, prominent Lusaka lawyer, Dr Rodger Chongwe said there was nothing unusual or new about Chiluba being found with a case to answer as it meant there was strong evidence against him upon which he had to defend himself or call witnesses to rebut the evidence against him after which the court would make a judgment.

And in an interview, Max Nkole said the Task Force welcomed the court’s decision to put Chiluba on his defence. He advised Chiluba to honour himself and present to the court his defence.

And Nkole disclosed that he had recommended to the Director of Public Prosecution that an arrest be effected on anyone who had a possible case to answer in the Carlington maize scam.
“I recommended to the DPP that we should effect an arrest and so I am just waiting for a response from him,” said Nkole.



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