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Zambia axes anti-corruption chief

Zambia’s top graft-buster has been fired, the government said on Wednesday, after he sought to appeal the acquittal of former president Frederick Chiluba in an embezzlement case.

The secretary to Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja, said in a statement that the government had decided not to renew the contract of the Task Force on Corruption boss Max Nkole.

Chiluba was cleared on August 17 of charges that he embezzled $500 000 during his 10 years in power, when the former trade unionist developed a taste for flashy suits and custom shoes.

After the verdict, Nkole went against government advice and prepared an appeal.

On his instructions, the private firm that has argued the case for the government filed an appeal on Tuesday, court documents show.

But Chiluba’s spokesperson, Emmanuel Mwamba, said the appeal had already been withdrawn.

”There have been no reasons given for the withdrawal,” Mwamba said.

Zambian prosecutors say they are still studying the Chiluba ruling to decide whether to appeal.

Chiluba, who ruled Zambia from 1991 to 2001, was acquitted on charges of stealing donor money meant for the poor, though his two co-accused were each convicted to three years in jail.

Chiluba has always insisted that the charges were political and backed by former colonial power Britain.

His wife, Regina, was sentenced earlier this year to three-and-a-half years for receiving stolen property. She is appealing the sentence. — Sapa-AFP

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