The wife of former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail on corruption-related charges.

A Zambian court Tuesday found Regina Chiluba guilty of illegally receiving more than $300,000 in stolen government funds and three houses in the Copperbelt region.

Magistrate Charles Kafunda told a packed courtroom that Mrs. Chiluba had failed to explain how she received the funds and property.

Some supporters wept as the verdict was read, and one fainted in the courtroom.

The former president, who was on hand for the ruling, said his wife's sentence would be  just a "passing phase."

Mr. Chiluba ruled Zambia from 1991 to 2001.  The Zambian government has since accused him of widespread corruption and jailed several prominent figures from his administration.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.