Zambian court throws out graft ruling against ex-president

15th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Zambia's high court has thrown out a case that would have forced former president Frederick Chiluba to repay the government after a British court found him guilty of corruption, state radio said Sunday.

Judge Evans Hamaundu ruled that a 2007 civil court ruling in London that found Chiluba and his associates had stolen 46 million dollars in public funds during his 1991-2002 presidency could not be registered in Zambia, the National Broadcasting Corporation reported.

"The question of enforcing the judgment of the courts of the United Kingdom directly by registration under the act does not arise," Hamaundu said in the Friday ruling.

"I have looked through our laws for such an order and have been unable to find any."

Zambia's attorney general brought the London high court case against Chiluba after the ex-president's hand-picked successor, Levy Mwanawasa, turned on his predecessor in a major corruption crackdown.

The British judgement found that Chiluba and his associates had defrauded the Zambian government of 46 million dollars and ruled that he should be denied access to his pension at Barclays Bank.

But the Zambian government has struggled to enforce the ruling, which would enable it to seize Chiluba's assets.

Chiluba and seven of his associates argued the judgement could not be enforced in Zambia, a former British colony that gained independence in 1964.

Chiluba, a former trade unionist, came under fire after leaving office for his lavish spending on tailor-made suits and flashy shoes.

In 2008, a Zambian court acquitted him of stealing 500,000 dollars in public funds.

© 2010 AFP

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