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Former Zambia president to stand trial on corruption charges

[JURIST] A Zambian High Court Magistrate Friday ruled that former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba [BBC profile] must stand trial for allegedly stealing money from the country's treasury while in office from 1991-2001. Chiluba and two Zambian businessmen, Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu, face a total of 12 counts of theft of public funds for their involvement in taking $488,000 when the treasury deposited payments to two US security firms into a London bank account controlled by the Zambia Security and Intelligence Services (ZSIS). Chungu, the former director-general of ZSIS, and Kabwe are accused of helping Chiluba use the money to purchase property and provide payments to his children. Chiluba maintains that some of the money was given to him by friends, while the rest was intended as payment for national intelligence duties. If convicted, Chiluba faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison. The trial is scheduled to start May 5.

In July, Chiluba was ordered by a London court to pay $58 million in fines [JURIST report] to Zambia to compensate for other funds stolen during Chiluba's decade in power. The suit was brought in Britain [BBC report] by Zambian officials because Chiluba and his associates held the assets in the UK and other European countries. Reuters has more. The Zambia Daily Mail has local coverage.

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