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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Zambia's Chiluba 'to stand trial'
Frederick Chiluba
Mr Chiluba's suits were paid by public funds, a UK judge has said
Zambia's ex-President Frederick Chiluba is to stand trial on corruption charges in Zambia, a Lusaka court has ruled.

Magistrate Jones Chinyama rejected arguments that Mr Chiluba, 64, was too ill to be prosecuted for stealing $488,000 during his time in office.

He suffers from a heart condition and was discharged from hospital on Tuesday after collapsing at his home last week.

Earlier in May, a UK court ordered Mr Chiluba to pay back $39m of state funds he allegedly took while in power.

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

UK 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.

Mr Chiluba, who served two terms as Zambia's president from 1991 to 2001, denounced the verdict in the civil case as "racist" and "obscene".

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.

The court said Mr Chiluba's trial should go ahead after doctors recently examined him in hospital.

Last November, the trial was postponed to allow Mr Chiluba to travel to South Africa for medical treatment.


SEE ALSO
Chiluba is 'stable' in hospital
25 May 07 |  Africa
Chiluba's legacy to Zambia
19 Dec 01 |  Africa
Country profile: Zambia
29 Nov 02 |  Country profiles

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