- Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said he will not bow down to several appeals to pardon his predecessor from facing corruption charges.
Last year, Mwanawasa promised to pardon Frederick Chiluba if he had returned 75% of the money [over US 488,000] he was accused of stealing from the state.
Mr Chiluba had throughout denied that the allegations were "baseless and unfounded."
Speaking after the swearing-in ceremony of a newly appointed deputy Chief Justice, President Mwanawasa said, "I have not seen or considered any reasons why I should exercise my discretion to forgive Chiluba."
"I am not prepared to abdicate my responsibility and interfere with the rule of law" he said, describing Chiluba as "a good friend of mine. If he is acquitted by the courts of law, we will all be glad."
Chiluba, 65, ruled Zambia between 1991 and 2001. Known for his expensive lifestyle, Chiluba was accused of stealing millions of state funds while in office.
Despite his poor health, the state continues to pursue Chiluba over his alleged past corruption and abuse of office records.
The former President had had his trial put off last year to allow him to travel to South Africa for medical treatment. He was hospitalized after he had been collapsed by a heart attack at his home.
Apart from being prosecuted, Chiluba was also interrogated about his role in several other corrupt claims, including the money paid to a Canadian firm for the supply of maize worth US $24 million in in 1997. It was later found that the supply was never delivered.
Mr Chiluba's wife, Regina, is also being tried for accepting her husband's stolen funds and property.
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