April 17, 2002

Zambian opposition leader arrested and detained for theft

Zambian opposition leader and former senior government minister, Michael Sata has been arrested and detained on Wednesday, April 17, for theft of motor vehicles, police said.

Sata is accused of having stolen two government vehicles which he used when he was minister without portfolio in the government of former president Frederick Chiluba.

"He has been arrested on charges of motor vehicle theft. He got two government vehicles when he resigned from government," a police spokesman told Nampa-AFP.

And a check by Nampa-AFP at the police station found Sata locked up in a tiny police cell together with ordinary criminals while his lawyers were fighting for his release.

But the Zambian parliament recently passed a law making theft of motor vehicle a non bailable offence.

"They have formally charged him and he is expected to appear in court on Thursday, April 18," said Francis Kasolo, his close associate found at the police station.

Sata, a top Zambian politician resigned from government last year to form his own party in order to contest last year's presidential elections after the ruling party refused to make him their candidate. He held a third highest position in the Zambian government and was the chief executive of the country's ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) before he quit. (THE NAMIBIAN)


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