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 2009-08-18 12:27 pm Back to NEWS
Court acquits Chiluba, jails Chungu, Kabwe for 3 years

Ndola High Court registrar Jones Chinyama has acquitted former president Frederick Chiluba on all counts of embezzling public funds amounting to US$500,000. And Chiluba said during a post-acquittal press briefing held at his Kabulonga residence that the devil that had tried to put a thief tag on him for the last eight years had been dealt with.

The Lusaka magistrate's court sparked into a celebratory mood and disbelief, as Chiluba and his plethora of jubilant supporters left the parked courtroom to the complex main entrance.

Some women erupted into song and ululations as they shouted Hallelujah and others were flashing the MMD symbol while shouting "chwe, chwe."

Magistrate Chinyama started reading the judgment after 9.00 hours through the lunch period until some minutes into 15.00 hours when he acquitted Chiluba.

Chiluba's acquittal momentarily disturbed the court proceedings in respect of the other two people he was separately charged with, Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu, who have been found guilty on some of the counts leveled against them and jailed them for three years with hard labour.

In this matter, Chiluba was charged with corruption alleged to have been committed whilst he was president.

Outside the courtroom, Chiluba, who was surrounded by his security personnel and sympathizers, had a tough time making it to his motorcade.

A horde of journalists blocked Chiluba's way and it had to take a group of men to block the group, some of who had thrust their microphones and boomers in Chiluba's face.

Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) Bishop Peter Njovu and a Bishop Eddie Mulenga, Edward Mumbi, Valentine Kayope were among Chiluba's sympathizers.

Chiluba finally managed to enter his official black Mercedes Benz S500, which was escorted out of the court premises by motorists hooting their horns.

At his Kabulonga residence, a well laid out and elaborate buffet was seen displayed within the premises.

His sympathizers sung songs and praised God.

And during the press briefing, Chiluba said he was not a thief as the devil had tried to make it seem over the last eight years.

Chiluba, who pledged to make a proper statement in a few weeks time, thanked Luapula member of parliament Peter Machungwa, Bangweulu member of parliament Joseph Kasongo, Dunamis Christian Centre's Pastor Dan Pule and citizens and friends in Zambia.

He started his press briefing by singing a famous Nigerian praise song by Agatha Moses, "Come and see what the Lord has done".

"I will speak much later, another two weeks. I just now want to thank the almighty God whose mercy endures forever. On behalf of my wife, my entire family I want to pay tribute to him. His mercies have never failed us. He is the great Jehovah. Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Shammah," Chiluba said amidst shouts of Amen and Hallelujah.

"I said sometime back that I stand on a rock and whoever plays with that rock it will crush him."

He said when he made this statement some people laughed but that now he would laugh last.

"I want to thank almighty God and the praying saints. People prayed at church, people prayed in their various homes. I want to say to all of you that God is faithful and God loves you," he said. "For eight long years the devil has tried to put a stigma of a thief on me, the Lord has dealt with the devil."

Chiluba said there would be many things he would talk about in the next few days, among which would be a kind of government that would put its president at the mercy of foreigners.

"For all these eight long years I have been subjected to a lot of harassment, persecution, shame and embarrassment," Chiluba said. "My wife has been called a thief merely by association because she is my wife and she has held on to me. This is true love, darling. We shall talk about many things, how governments have been run, particularly in Africa, because we are poor therefore every foreigner must bring his dollars and orders you to arrest your president. I am just waiting for a list from England of MPs who stole money but the papers do not write about the British thieves. So we shall talk about that because the Speaker of the House of Commoners resigned because he was trying to protect the thieves. It is only in England where an MP takes money to the church as an offering and claims it from Parliament. Oh, yes only there. So what moral high ground are they on?"

Chiluba said Zambians do not steal and that they were honest people.

He said the press who mistook him for a thief now knew that he was an innocent man.

"In Zambia we don't steal, we are honest, and on behalf of my wife I just want to thank everybody, the press who mistook me as a thief now know that I am an innocent man," Chiluba said as some people applauded.

"You see the Bible is very clear, do no harm to my prophets and touch not my anointed. If you touch the anointed sometimes they will beat you with your camera, no reference to anybody, just to warn you that you don't play with the anointed. So as a Christian nation of Zambia, we believe and trust in the word of God and in the word of God, we are not encouraged to steal. But that does not stop the devil from accusing you. They will accuse you even when you have not done anything."

He further thanked the people of Zambia for supporting him saying they had never called him a thief wherever he had been.

"I want to thank the people of Zambia, in the East in the West, in the South, in the North, Central, everywhere, for their great friendship with us," Chiluba said. "Wherever I have gone, nobody has ever called me a thief, ordinary people are my best friends. Wherever we go, we just mingle, we share, we laugh, but those who were assigned to do the donkeywork by imperialists must feel sorry. I want to ask the British when we meet what they are doing in Afghanistan. God bless."

At that point his supporters started cheering and shouting, as follows: "Immunity restored! Immunity restored!"

Chiluba responded: "Oh! Yes, we will talk about that later when we meet in two weeks time. Thank you Jesus, Amen, Thank you Jesus, Amen."

On January 28 this year, Magistrate Chinyama banned The Post from covering the theft case of Chiluba following an application by Chiluba's lawyer Robert Simeza who expressed concern about an article in that day's newspaper headlined 'Chiluba refuses to swear to tell truth'.

Magistrate Chinyama said the article was misleading and highly prejudicial.

Judgment in the case was last month deferred to tomorrow in light of the consent judgment passed to allow Chiluba file his submissions out of the court's time.

Chiluba's corruption case closed in March this year and judgment was set for July 20.

Chiluba was separately charged with Kabwe and Chungu for theft by public servant, involving about US $500,000 public funds.


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