LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested the leader of the nation’s main opposition party for corruption involving more than $500,000, it said on Monday.
Given Lubinda, who was appointed acting president of the former ruling Patriotic Front (PF) following former President Edgar Lungu’s defeat, has been accused of possessing properties and cash suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Lubinda was not immediately available for comment, but said he would address the media on his arrest on Tuesday.
Following his election in August last year, President Hakainde Hichilema vowed to step up the fight against graft and recover state assets allegedly stolen under the previous government, which also left Zambia a multibillion-dollar debt crisis that has forced it to seek help from the IMF.
Lubinda was arrested over a house valued at $260,000 and money in his bank account, all totaling $539,000 and acquired between 2018 and 2019, the ACC said.
“The above properties are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime,” the statement said, adding that Lubinda had been released and would appear in court soon.
Several high-profile former ruling party officials, including ex-foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji who was arrested in December, have been charged with corruption-related offences. The PF has accused the ruling party of persecution.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Bill Berkrot)