Chiluba in hospital in Joburg

Zambia's former president Frederick Chiluba is in intensive care at a Johannesburg hospital for a heart ailment and is in no position to face trial, his spokesman said yesterday.

Zambia's former president Frederick Chiluba is in intensive care at a Johannesburg hospital for a heart ailment and is in no position to face trial, his spokesman said yesterday.

Chiluba arrived here on Friday and after undergoing "comprehensive medical tests" and was admitted into the Garden City Clinic, Emmanuel Mwamba said.

"He's being treated for his cardiac condition in the intensive care unit," Mwamba said. "He's responding well to treatment and is in high spirits."

A spokesman for the hospital said she could not confirm if Chiluba had been admitted: "To the best of my knowledge he is not here. I'll have to look into it."

Mwamba said doctors treating the embattled former leader, on trial for corruption and theft of public funds during his decade-long stint in power until 2001, had to obtain government permission to travel to South Africa for treatment.

Zambia had stopped Chiluba from seeking medical treatment here, arguing that his heart problem could be treated locally, but president Levy Mwanawasa allowed his predecessor to travel. - Sapa

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