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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:50, May 05, 2007
Former Zambian president rebuffs London court judgment on corruption trial
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Former Zambian president Fredrick Chiluba has said he is not bound by the verdict passed by a London Court which has found him guilty of siphoning the southern African country's treasury during his rule.

Chiluba, 64, said the judgment passed by Judge Peter Smith in the London Court had prejudiced and seriously undermined the proceedings and outcome of the criminal trial currently taking place in the Lusaka Magistrate Court. The London trial was a civil one.

"It is an affront to justice to run two parallel trials simultaneously based on the same facts and circumstances. The proceedings before the Lusaka Magistrate Court have been rendered academic," Chiluba, who ruled Zambia from 1991 to 2001, said here Friday in a statement made available to Xinhua shortly after the judgment.

He said there was no justification to take the case before a foreign jurisdiction because he was not facing crimes against humanity or human rights violations.

"This case proceeded without my defense and representation therefore its outcome smacks of political malice," he said in the statement.

The former president, who has refused to recognize the London Court verdict from the time it started sitting in November last year, did not even attend the video conferencing to listen to the verdict of the London Court.

The Zambian government provided the video conference so that the former president with his co-accused could follow the proceedings from here.

However, his spokesperson, Emmanuel Mwamba, who was at the video conference, told journalists that the judgment will only be meaningful if it is registered in the Zambian court.

"Any foreign judgment has to be registered locally and in this case the former president is not bound by the judgment. He is not going to preoccupy himself with the judgment because he does not respect matters handled by a foreign court," he said.

According to the preliminary judgment read by Judge Smith, the former president, with his 19 co-accused has been found guilty of siphoning public funds and has been ordered to pay back 85 percent of the money within 14 days.

However, his lawyers have raised some mitigation issues with the London Court, a situation that may affect the final judgment.

The former president is alleged to have siphoned millions of U. S. dollars through a London branch of the state-owned Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO).

Source: Xinhua

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