London – LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – the former president of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Frederick (FJT) Chiluba, was found in the Royal Courts of Justice today to have conspired with others to misappropriate US$46 million of the African’s nation’s assets during his time in office.
DLA Piper, the major international legal services organisation, represented the Government of the Republic of Zambia in the ground-breaking case which it is hoped will set a template for the fight against corruption in Africa.
Dr Chiluba was found by Mr Justice Peter Smith after a trial lasting 4 months, held in private for legal reasons related to other proceedings in Zambia, to have taken part in two separate conspiracies to siphon off the money.
Part of it was laundered in London through two law firms, Meer Care and Desai and Cave Malik & Co, the judge concluded. Partners in both firms were found guilty of conspiracy.
DLA Piper litigation partner Janet Legrand, who led the case for the Zambian Government, said after the judgement yesterday: “We are proud to be associated with this resounding and significant victory for the Zambian Government and its people against those who sought to steal the nation’s assets for themselves.
“This is a major victory for President Mwanawasa’s battle to stamp out corruption.”
In his judgment, Mr Justice Peter Smith said one fraud – the “Zamtrop conspiracy” worth $25,000,000 – was carried out under alleged secret operations by the Zambian Government’s security services, the ZSIS. These activities were not subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
The second fraud, known as the “BK conspiracy”, involved non-existent deals for helicopters, fighter aircraft, arms and other equipment which were supposed to have been bought on Zambia’s behalf by a Belgian-based middleman. $21,000,000 was stolen as a result.
Mr Justice Peter Smith also points to over $500,000 spent on clothes for the then President from a Swiss tailoring firm, Boutique Basile, including 206 suits, 349, mostly monogrammed, shirts, and 72 pairs of shoes, all with extra high heels. The worth of the clothing was equivalent to five times the total of Dr Chiluba’s salary for the 10 years he was in office, the Judge said.