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 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 17:05 GMT
Chiluba hit by Christmas travel ban
Former President Frederick Chiluba
Mr Chiluba planned to seek medical advice in London

The Zambian Government has ordered former president Frederick Chiluba not to leave the country.

He had intended to travel to Britain with his new wife for a medical check-up.

MEDICAL HISTORY
British doctors tell Mr Chiluba to have check-up in London
Zambian Government tells him to seek local treatment
Offers to fly doctor from London if needed
But the government says investigations into alleged corruption are too advanced to let Mr Chiluba leave the country.

The ex-president has been accused of stealing millions intended for the development of the country and is currently fighting attempts by parliament to lift his immunity from prosecution.

The government halted Christmas travel plans for Mr Chiluba and wife Regina at the end of last week.

A letter sent by the cabinet office told Mr Chiluba to use local doctors for the medical checks he had planned to undergo in Britain.

Flight fear

It added that, if a second opinion was needed, the state was prepared to meet the costs of bringing Mr Chiluba's London doctor to Zambia.

Government sources say they are afraid that if Mr Chiluba leaves the country he will not return.

But Mr Chiluba told the BBC he was shocked by the travel ban which had been imposed on him despite his constitutional rights.

He said he did not know whether to laugh or get angry.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa
President Levy Mwanawasa also ordered Mr Chiluba to stay home in July
Zambia's former presidents are entitled by law to healthcare and to two trips abroad, paid for by the state.

Mr Chiluba denied he planned to run away from justice and said he would have returned on 9 January.

He said he had been advised by his British doctors to go through the examination in Britain because certain, necessary, state-of-the-art equipment was not available in Zambia.

Mr Chiluba also said he had hoped to get to Britain and back before the Supreme Court returned from recess.

The court is to decide whether to approve Mr Chiluba's attempt to stop parliament from lifting his immunity from prosecution.

This is the second time that President Levy Mwanawasa has prevented his predecessor from leaving the country.

In July, Mr Chiluba was stopped from attending the launch of the African Union in South Africa.


President's burden

Opposition leaders

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

21 Nov 02 | Africa
18 Dec 01 | Africa
22 Mar 02 | Africa
19 Dec 01 | Africa
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