Sunday, May 30, 2010
By George Chellah
Sun 30 May 2010, 04:00 CAT
GEORGE Mpombo yesterday said the conviction of MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba leaves a bitter taste in Frederick Chiluba’s mouth because some of these matters are interrelated.
Commenting on the sentencing of Kalumba and three others to five years imprisonment for corruption, Mpombo advised Chiluba to lie low.
“The best for Mr Chiluba is to really not go into public debate of taking positions on something that will anger the people,” said Mpombo who is Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament.
“These are disturbing developments Katele’s conviction that do not augur well for him, so it will be good for him to keep quiet as well because the more you talk, the more you provoke people.
“It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth for him because some of these issues are interrelated. It paints some disturbing picture. Mr Chiluba must take a very very low profile on these matters. I would rather he keeps quiet.”
Mpombo said the latest developments put Kalumba, who is also Chiengi MMD member of parliament, in a difficult position.
“I think for his peace of mind and integrity he should now take a back seat in politics. So that he could have a peace of mind and save the family from embarrassment,” Mpombo said.
“This is a big political issue and knowing our politics it will come up from time to time. Therefore, the best Katele can do like I have said is to take a back seat in politics.”
Mpombo said President Rupiah Banda was so much locked into political self-deception.
“The issues that are being unraveled are a clear indication to Mr Banda to understand that he cannot continue to interfere in the process of dispensation of justice,” Mpombo said.
“We should not have government intervention in that process. Mr Rupiah Banda must prove that he is above that so that confidence is restored in the process.
“Otherwise, it will be difficult to remember Mr Banda as a president who championed the course of justice. He is interfering with the process for too long.”
And Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Stephen Lungu said Kalumba’s conviction showed that the Judiciary in the country had always tried to work independently.
Lungu said it was always good for matters to be disposed of, having gone through all the channels that existed in the Judiciary.
Lungu said LAZ had already stated that Chiluba’s acquittal warranted an appeal.
On Wednesday, 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 charges in the Lusaka magistrates court.
The court also jailed former finance ministry chief economist Bede Mpande, 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.