Zambia Anti-Corruption Agency Arrests Opposition Leader for Graft

Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) announced on Monday that the leader of the country’s biggest opposition party had been detained for corruption involving more than $500,000.

Following the fall of former President Edgar Lungu, Given Lubinda was chosen acting president of the previous ruling Patriotic Front (PF). He has been accused of holding property and monies believed to be proceeds of crime.

Lubinda was unavailable for comment immediately but indicated he would speak to the media about his detention on Tuesday.

Following his victory in August of last year, President Hakainde Hichilema promised to intensify the battle against corruption and retrieve public assets allegedly stolen by the previous government, which also left Zambia in a multibillion-dollar debt crisis, forcing it to seek IMF assistance.

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Three former managers of a state-owned corporation were detained in December for suspected corruption involving more than 300 million kwacha ($18.75 million), forcing donors to temporarily halt help.

Their arrest comes after that of Joseph Malanji, the former foreign minister, who was detained for allegedly possessing property thought to be proceeds of crime.

Because of concerns about financial mismanagement, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Sweden withheld approximately $34 million in aid to Zambia’s social cash welfare and education sectors in 2018.

The ACC stated Lubinda was arrested over a residence worth $260,000 and money in his bank account worth $539,000, all of which he acquired between 2018 and 2019.

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The statement said that “the foregoing properties are reasonably considered to be proceeds of crime,” and that Lubinda had been released and would appear in court soon.

Several high-profile former ruling party leaders have been charged with corruption, including ex-foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji, who was arrested in December. The PF claims that the ruling party is persecuting them.

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