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 2009-08-30 07:06 pm Back to NEWS
Chiluba failed to prove ownership of $8m in Zamtrop account – TIZ

TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu yesterday said former president Frederick Chiluba failed to prove, through witnesses, during his just-ended trial that the US $8 million in the Zamtrop account was his. Commenting on Chiluba's intentions to reclaim the US $8 million that he placed in the intelligence account following his recent acquittal by magistrate Jones Chinyama, Lungu said even the judgment that led to Chiluba's acquittal of embezzling US $500,000 was somehow controversial.

"Our position is that the judgment was somehow controversial in that the Auditor General, Anna Chifungula, who was the defence witness, in short defending the accused, did adduce evidence in court to the effect that all funds whether private or public, which are put in a public account is supposed to be forfeited to the state," Lungu said. "We believe that was authority enough...that if one claims he or she put private money in a public account, that argument may not be sustained."

Lungu said Chiluba did not call any witness during his defence to confirm that the money in question was his.

"We are left wondering as to how Dr Chiluba can claim that was his money," he said. "I think he has every right to sue the state to claim that money. We feel that if the ruling will be such that a person can put private money in a public account then that will be the end of our public financial management system, for the simple reason that any public officer will put their private money in public accounts."

Lungu said there should be a separation between private and public money.

"It will promote lawlessness if that scenario is sustained," Lungu said.

Asked to comment on the stance that President Rupiah Banda has taken over the Chiluba issue, Lungu said it was difficult to believe President Banda at the moment because he had on a number of occasions defended wrong things.

"He misled the nation that honourable Dora Siliya was cleared of all the breaches that the tribunal found," Lungu said. "Our word of encouragement to the current President; when we provide this constructive criticism, we want him to reflect now before it is too late, because he will leave office one day. We do not want him to be prosecuted in the same way as Dr Chiluba."

Lungu said President Banda had every opportunity now to create a scenario of doing what was right.

Addressing congregants at Matero's Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) last week, Chiluba said he was going to claim 'his' US $8 million in the Zamtrop account, saying what was yours was yours [Akobe kobe].

Addressing journalists at Lusaka International Airport shortly before departure for Swaziland last Friday, President Banda said he had no quarrels with Chiluba and that he would not inherit other people's enmity with him.

When asked to comment on Chiluba's statement that he would claim 'his' US $8 million, President Banda said the matter would be sorted out.

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