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Chiluba asks Zambia Parliament for immunity

Former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba has asked Parliament to restore his immunity from prosecution after his acquittal this week of graft charges, according to a letter obtained by Agence France-Presse on Thursday.

Chiluba on Monday was cleared by a court of embezzling $500 000 during his 10 years in office, when the former trade unionist developed a taste for expensive suits and custom-made elevated shoes.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Chiluba’s lawyers asked Parliament Speaker Amusa Mwanamwambwa to restore the immunity normally granted to former heads of state.

The late president Levy Mwanawasa convinced Parliament seven years ago to strip Chiluba of his immunity so that the corruption charges could go to court.

Chiluba’s lawyers argued in the letter that his immunity should be restored now.

”The removal of our client’s immunity was not infinite, as its scope was limited to prosecution for offence alleged by late president Mwanawasa,” the letter said.

Chiluba ruled Zambia from 1991 to 2001 and his hand-picked successor, Mwanawasa, launched an anti-graft campaign which has landed convictions against several top officials, including Chiluba’s wife Regina.

Although Chiluba was acquitted, two businessmen were convicted in the same case. Prosecutors have not yet said if they plan to appeal.

Chiluba has already been convicted in 2007 in a British court of stealing about $50-million of state funds along with former aides. — Sapa-AFP

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