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Former Zambian President Will be Tried in London Today


In Britain, there has been a one-day delay in the scheduled trial of former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba. Officials at the London court claimed yesterday that cameras were not completely installed to facilitate video conferencing between the British capital and the Chikwa Court in Lusaka. And Chiluba, who was scheduled to appear before a judge, refused to be present in court. Meanwhile, the trial has been rescheduled to commence today (Tuesday).

Emmanuel Mwamba is the spokesman for Zambia’s former President Chiluba. He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the failure of the court to proceed.

“There was a problem with the video conference facility link, that was a technical failure. Although we are not attending, there was an official statement issued that there was a technical failure, and that the judge has postponed the hearing to today (Tuesday),” he said.

Mwamba says the former president insists he will not respect the ruling of a foreign court for graft charges brought against him by the Mwanawasa-led government.

“Dr. Chiluba has maintained that he will regard the findings of this court as null and void. He says he will not submit himself before a foreign court, he has stated that the matters in the London high court can be adequately handled by the Zambian judiciary. He is also of the view that there is no justification to have taken this matter to a foreign court,” he noted.

Mwamba says former president Chiluba has reasons for his refusal to recognize the London High Court.

“The problem with appearing in London, there are many reasons: One Dr. Chiluba has stated that its very expensive for him to hire lawyers in England. Secondly, he has stated that the claim is not so sophisticated, so international that it should be taken to a foreign court. He has further stated that there are traveling restrictions on him. How can he defend himself? They have taken this matter to London for them to ensure that they win this case. That is Dr. Chiluba’s view. They’ve decided against sovereign interest, they’ve decided against national interest and taken Dr. Chiluba to make it easier for them to win this case,” Mwamba said.

He says the London high court has looked into the former presidents health to determine whether he was fit to stand trial.

“From the court’s records, we’ve seen they’ve been discussing Dr. Chiluba’s health. There is an update query over the attorney general for allowing Dr. Chiluba to go to South Africa but failing to allow Dr. Chiluba to go to England for his trial. So they are requesting the Zambian government to explain, under which circumstances Dr. Chiluba had gone top South Africa but failed to go to his court trial in London,” he said.

Mwamba says inquires made by the London court are of no importance to the former president since he does not recognize its authority.

“… All those matters are inconsequence to us because Dr. Chiluba says he will not recognize the authority of the court, its decisions, its orders, or its directives or its findings,” he said.

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