Monday, February 15, 2010

Federick Chiluba: Corruption Personified

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Frederick Chiluba was born on the 30th of April 1943 in Zambia and later rose to become the democratically elected president of the country in 1991 under the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, in a multiparty presidential election after being a trade union leader.
He succeeded President Kenneth Kaunda and got re-elected in 1996 after a successful first tenure in office, but failed a third tenure bid in 2001. His party rather preferred Levy Mwanawasa who contested on their platform and won the election.

The coming of Mwanawasa into power brought to fore the shoddy deals of President Frederick Chiluba while in office. He was investigated for corruption, arrested in 2003 and charged along with his former intelligence chief, Xavier Chungu, on 168 counts of theft totalling over $40m. His serving ministers and senior officials were also charged. His wife Regina was arrested for receiving stolen goods and for aiding her husband.

On the 4th of May 2007 Chiluba was found guilty of stealing $46m in a civil case by a United Kingdom court presided over by Peter Smith. The stolen money were said to have been transferred to a London bank by the Zambian intelligence service. Later on Mwanawasa recovered nearly $60m purportedly stolen by the man who was supposed to be a good ambassador of his country, who swore on oath to uphold the constitution of his country and do all he could to improve the lot of the Zambia people.

Chiluba was acquitted from the charges on 17th August 2009 after the death of Mwanawasa in 2008. The current President Rupiah Banda did not only ensure that Fred Chiluba was acquitted, he also refused to allow the state to appeal against the verdict of the court. It only reminded one of the usual practice in Africa where leaders cover the sins of one another to keep their subjects perpetually in darkness.

What legacy did Frederick Chiluba leave? He’s said to have initiated a great economic reform for his country and also played the role of a mediator in bringing to an end the protracted war in the Democratic republic of Congo, but all those achievements have been overtaken by the corruption charges pressed against him.

His friend Rupiah Banda was said to have been endorsed for presidency by Chiluba so as to help cover up his corrupt profile and guarantee his personal freedom. It’s truly a case of a corruption-prone leader coming to the timely aid of a corrupt friend to shield him from law and justice.

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