CHILUBA ASKS FOR IMMUNITY

LUSAKA - Former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba has asked parliament to restore his immunity from prosecution after his acquittal this week on graft charges, according to a letter obtained by AFP yesterday.

LUSAKA - Former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba has asked parliament to restore his immunity from prosecution after his acquittal this week on graft charges, according to a letter obtained by AFP yesterday.

On Monday Chiluba was cleared by a court of embezzling US$500000 (about R3,9million) during his 10 years in office when the trade unionist developed a taste for expensive suits and handmade elevated shoes.

In a letter dated Tuesday Chiluba's lawyers ask parliament speaker Amusa Mwanamwambwa to restore the immunity normally granted former heads of state.

The late president Levy Mwanawasa persuaded parliament seven years ago to strip Chiluba of his immunity so that the corruption case could go to court.

Chiluba's lawyers argue in the letter that his immunity should be restored now.

"The removal of our client's immunity was not infinite, as it was limited to prosecution for an offence alleged by the late Mwanawasa," the letter says.

Chiluba ruled Zambia from 1991 to 2001 and his hand-picked deputy, Mwanawasa, launched an anti-graft campaign that has resulted in convictions against several top officials, including Chiluba's wife Regina.

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

Chiluba was convicted in 2007 in a British court for theft of nearly $50million of state funds. - Sapa-AFP

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