Tuesday October 02, 2007 [04:00]
Former intelligence chief Xavier Chungu fled the country with full government knowledge, opposition Patriotic Front president Michael Sata claimed yesterday. And chief government spokesperson Mike Mulo-ngoti yesterday challenged Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda to explain whether the government facilitated his travel to Congo when he fled under Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s regime.
Commenting on the government’s request to the government of Mozambique for the extradition of Chungu, Sata claimed that the government facilitated Chungu’s exit from Zambia so that he could assist them to fish out evidence against former president Frederick Chiluba from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and European countries.
“Chungu was on a government mission. He even used on a longer route to Congo to fish out evidence from Moses Katumbi to implicate Chiluba. Chungu spent more than two weeks travelling between Kinshasa and Lubumbashi in Congo with the full knowledge of government,” Sata claimed.
“General Miyanda is very right. Government is behaving fraudulently, just as they behaved when Attan Shansonga was helped to flee Zambia.”
Sata charged that the government had never been sincere in the fight against corruption because President Mwanawasa’s mission had been, for the last five to six years, to find a case against Chiluba at all cost.
“And when he finds that time is running out and he cannot find anything, he started to use the divide and rule game to cheat the people of Zambia that he was fighting corruption. When I told the nation that I met Attan Shansonga in Johannesburg, the government and the Task Force rejected and they told the nation that Shansonga was attending a funeral,” he said.
Sata claimed that Chungu was sent on a mission by President Mwanawasa just like former Zambian ambassador to the US, Attan Shansonga, at government expense to go and look for evidence against Chiluba.
He said Chungu took a much more longer route than anybody who was running away from justice to prove that he was on a government mission.
“Anybody who is running away from justice takes a shorter route. But in case of Chungu, they drove him in a government vehicle from Lusaka through Kasumbalesa to Lumumbashi. Between Lusaka and Kasumbalesa there are more than 15 roadblocks.
How did he manage to pass through all these roadblocks? How did Chungu pass through our Kasumbalesa border post?” Sata asked.
“Chungu had no passport just like all those facing cases of corruption. We have seen how Chiluba’s lawyers plead to have his passport to be released for him to go for medical treatment abroad. Did somebody somewhere issue Chungu with a clandestine passport?”
Sata challenged the government to explain why they had not applied for a bench warrant against Chungu and Shansonga.
“If a person jumps bail, a bench warrant is issued and his bail is revoked. But they have never revoked Chungu’s bail, so he is still on bail.
They have achieved what they sent him to do and that is to broker the deal with Katanga governor Moses Katumbi. But they have not told us what they will do with Katumbi’s property which the Task Force have auctioned,” he said.
Sata wondered why the government remained quiet when Chungu issued statements from the European countries.
“Chungu has been to all European capitals because the government was very much hopeful that he was to bring much evidence to implicate Chiluba.
Chungu has issued statements from the European countries, but have we heard this government that they will enter an extradition agreement with the European countries to bring back Chungu?” he asked. “And now that Chungu is in Mozambique, they want to extradite him.
This is not the first time Chungu has been to Mozambique. As Gen Miyanda said, they are getting scared because he was getting nearer on how he was going to implicate President Mwanawsasa in his own game of fighting corruption.”
He wondered why government had not commenced extradition proceedings in the Mozambican courts if they were serious with their intention of bringing Chungu back to face corruption charges.
Sata said correspondence between the two countries’ ministries could not extradite anybody.
Sata charged that government was bluffing and hoodwinking over Chungu’s escape.
“I totally agree with General Miyanda… let the government tell us the truth because they facilitated Chungu’s exist. This government knew every minute wherever Chungu was. So now because this government has fished dried fish…balobele lyauma, so they are trying to cheat the Zambian people that they were going to extradite Chungu,” he said. “Let them tell us because they have kept a suspicious silence over Chungu.
It is now that they are reviving the talk about Chungu.”
However, Mulongoti – who is also information and broadcasting minister – said he had no information indicating that the government facilitated Chungu’s flight.
“I don’t want to comment much on Mr Sata’s claims, but I want to ask the General to tell us whether government facilitated his travel when he fled to Congo under the Kaunda government.
Since he has some experience, he must tell us whether government was involved,” he said. “How does the General expect government to facilitate the exit of a fugitive? So he must tell us whether his escape was facilitated by government.”
Brig Gen Miyanda on Sunday asked the government to tell the nation how Chungu fled before seeking his extradition from Mozambique.
The Zambian government has through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs written to the government of Mozambique requesting for Chungu’s extradition who is seeking asylum in that country.
Government sources disclosed that official correspondence has already been sent to Mozambique’s justice minister for consideration. Chungu was last week spotted in Mozambique where he has applied for asylum through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
But the Zambian government source said they have requested the government of Mozambique to extradite Chungu because he fled from justice and not political persecution as he is claiming.