Former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba was arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing millions of dollars from public coffers. His arrest, along with a handful of others, is part of the current government's massive crackdown on corruption.

Zambia's Task Force on Corruption alleges Mr. Chiluba is one of six people who stole some $40 million from the country's public treasury between 1991 and 2001. The six are charged with 96 counts of theft. The chairman of the task force, Mark Chona, said former intelligence chief Xavier Chungu is one of the defendants, but would not name the others.

Zambia's corruption task force was created last year by President Levy Mwanawasa to investigate and prosecute allegations of corruption committed by the former government.

Mr. Chona credits President Mwanawasa with having what he calls the "political will" to seek punishment for the previous government's misdeeds. "The lesson is taught to those who are aspiring to be president in the future that they can never plunder at will and get away with it while the Zambian people continue to wallow in poverty," he said.

Mr. Chiluba and the other co-defendants are set to appear in court on August 27.