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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Chiluba attacks 'racist' UK court
Frederick Chiluba
Mr Chiluba's suits were paid by public funds, the judge had said
Ex-Zambian President Frederick Chiluba says a London court ruling ordering him to pay back $39m (20m) of state funds was racist and predetermined by the UK.

Mr Chiluba told a news conference in Lusaka that the British authorities had colluded with Zambia's government and said the judge was "obscene".

The civil action was brought in Britain because the allegedly stolen money passed through bank accounts in London.

Mr Chiluba served two terms as Zambia's president from 1991 to 2001.

His handpicked successor, President Levy Mwanawasa, has been pursuing an anti-corruption drive against Mr Chiluba's former government.

The president has offered to pardon Mr Chiluba if he admits the allegations and returns 75% of the cash he allegedly stole, but the ex-leader has always denied the allegations.

Designer clothes

Last week's ruling in the London High Court ordered Mr Chiluba to pay back 85% of the $46m (23m) he allegedly took while in power.

This is a case predetermined by the British in collusion with the Zambian government to crucify me
Frederick Chiluba

Judge Peter Smith said Zambians should know that when the former president appeared wearing his trademark designer clothes, they were paid for with public funds.

Zambia's attorney-general is in the process of entering the judgement with the country's high court and it is expected to enforce it.

Mr Chiluba will then have 14 days to return the money.

"If he fails to satisfy the judgment, he can be declared bankrupt," the vice-president of the Law Association of Zambia, Stephen Lungu, warned.

"Nothing will stop the enforcement of a foreign judgment because of the reciprocal agreements that exist between the two jurisdictions."

'Collusion'

But Mr Chiluba was defiant at the press conference on Thursday, accusing the Zambian and British governments of conspiring against him.

President Levy Mwanawasa
President Levy Mwanawasa has led a fight against corruption

"This is a case predetermined by the British in collusion with the Zambian government to crucify me," he said.

Mr Chiluba said of Judge Smith: "At best, this judgment is a mere political statement made by a man who represents a vicious and violent system with inherent prejudices and hatred against Africa.

"The language he uses is racist, abusive, demeaning and clearly unbecoming of a high court judge.

"I find this judgement totally unacceptable and I therefore reject it."

Mr Chiluba said he believed the judge's obsession with his clothes had been "obscene".

"Is not the living and other expenses of the president borne by the state?" he asked.

The former trade union leader said that some of the money he allegedly stole came from public donations.

"More than $9m came from private sources," he said.


SEE ALSO
Zambia's 'matrix of plunder'
09 Dec 03 |  Africa
Chiluba loses immunity appeal
19 Feb 03 |  Africa
Chiluba's legacy to Zambia
19 Dec 01 |  Africa
Country profile: Zambia
29 Nov 02 |  Country profiles

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