Monday, May 31, 2010
By George Chellah
Mon 31 May 2010, 04:20 CAT
FREDERICK Chiluba yesterday said all the corruption allegations against him and his former officials were a political witch-hunt in which the courts were just used to achieve this political goal by his enemies. But PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba said the conviction of MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba and three others is evidence that Chiluba is guilty.
Chiluba, who spoke through his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba, said the fact that Kalumba and others had appealed meant that they were still contending their innocence.
“Dr Chiluba has stated that all these corruption allegations against him and his officials were a political witch-hunt against him and his officials. They were never founded on corruption allegations, they were founded in politics not in corruption allegations,” Mwamba said. “We didn’t see the same vigour to investigate corruption allegations in Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s government and in Levy Mwanawasa’s government. The focus was just on Dr Chiluba. And the courts were just used to achieve this political goal by Dr Chiluba’s enemies.”
He also dismissed Kabimba’s statement that Kalumba’s conviction was evidence that Chiluba is guilty.
“When Wynter speaks as a politician, he is very careless and I hope he is speaking as a politician and not a lawyer. As a lawyer he knows that these are very separate cases, the facts are different,” Mwamba said. “Our caution to Wynter is that his recent politics are dirtier and they lack reason.”
But Kabimba maintained that the recent convictions were evidence that Chiluba should not have gone off scot-free.
“The conviction of Katele and the group is a clear evidence that Chiluba should have been convicted,” Kabimba said. “It’s enough evidence to the public and a lay person that Chiluba should have been convicted and that Chiluba is guilty.”
Kabimba questioned Chiluba’s acquittal.
“It cannot be a matter of coincidence that everybody that worked closely with Chiluba is today a criminal or is tainted with criminal activities including his own wife, Regina and that out of this consortium of human beings around Chiluba only himself is clean and the rest are criminals including the wife that he lives with,” Kabimba said.
“This image boggles the mind of any reasonable person not only in Zambia but even outside Zambia. And therefore, it would be in the interest of the Zambian people and the image of this country to the outside world that Chiluba’s case should be pursued to its logical conclusion. And that’s why it was unfortunate that the appeal against his acquittal was stopped by Rupiah Banda. We demand that the same truth that has emerged from Katele’s conviction must emerge in Chiluba’s case.”
He appealed to the donor community to put pressure on the government to ensure that Chiluba did not get away with his activities scot-free.
“…Because then the fight against corruption which the late Levy Mwanawasa bequeathed upon this country will be compromised,” he said.
Kabimba said there was no difference between Chiluba’s charges and those of Kalumba and his group.
“Chiluba’s purported acquittal and the relationship that he has now forged with Rupiah Banda is a clear scheme that Katele is being sacrificed,” Kabimba said. “And that is Chiluba’s style of leadership that he can save his skin and sacrifice his agents, those that did or executed the wrongdoings in his name to perish.
“This character of Chiluba is known about him even from his trade union days. That’s how he survived even in ZCTU by sacrificing others and making himself look like a hero while others were being destroyed in the process.”
He warned that President Banda would soon know Chiluba.
“Rupiah Banda himself will come to learn in due course when the time comes that Chiluba will abandon him and he is going to sacrifice him politically to the people of Zambia,” said Kabimba.
On Wednesday last week, Kalumba, former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda, defunct Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu were handed five-year sentences each for corruption in the Lusaka magistrate’s court.
The court also jailed former finance ministry chief economist Bede Mphande, former finance ministry director of budget Borniface Nonde and former secretary to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene for five years but suspended for 24 months. Kalumba, Chibanda, Chungu and Kabwe were on Friday granted K500 million bail each pending appeal.