Zambia: Main opposition leader arrested on corruption, in latest round of ACC charges

By 'Tofe Ayeni
Posted on Thursday, 24 March 2022 14:02

Given Lubinda, Zambia's former justice minister. (photo: facebook)

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema’s anti-corruption campaign has reached the door of former justice minister Given Lubinda, who was arrested this week on Monday.

Lubinda is the acting chairman of Zambia’s main opposition party, the Patriotic Front (PF), a position he assumed following the defeat of former president Edgar Lungu last year.

This week, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) charged Lubinda on five counts, claiming he partook in corruption involving over $500,000.

The ACC alleges that he owns a house in Kingsland City valued at $260,000 as well as $100,000, $80,000, $50,000 and $49,990 – sums found in various bank accounts acquired between 2018 and 2019. In a statement issued by the ACC, it said: “The above properties are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.”

‘…opportunity to exonerate myself’

Lubinda was released on police bond following about three hours of interrogation and is now awaiting a court appearance. He is represented by Jonas Zimba.

Lubinda said of his arrest: “Instead of going around calling people thieves, it is good that the UPND [ruling party] has finally arrested me. This will give me an opportunity to exonerate myself and clear my name in a competent court of jurisdiction. I am also very happy that President Hakainde has heeded to my challenge to arrest all of us he is accusing of being thieves so we can see if he can prove his allegations.”

Anti-corruption campaign

When elected in 2021, President Hichilema promised to fight corruption and recover state assets allegedly stolen under the previous administration.

True to his word, several high profile officials from Lungu’s government have been charged with corruption-related crimes, including former foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji who was arrested in December.

The PF has accused Hichilema’s administration of persecuting its members.

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