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.
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
Some women erupted into song and ululations as they
shouted Hallelujah and others were flashing the MMD symbol while shouting "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'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.
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
His sympathizers sung songs and praised God.
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.
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.
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
Chiluba said Zambians do not steal and that they were honest
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
"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
"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!"
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.