March 22, 2018 / 3:27 PM / 7 months ago

Zambian former cabinet minister facing graft charges: anti-corruption body

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A former Zambian cabinet minister who has repeatedly accused government officials of corruption will appear in court on Friday on corruption charges himself, a spokesman for the country’s anti-graft agency said.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) spokesman Jonathan Siame said former Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili was in police custody after being arrested.

“He has been charged with 39 counts (of corruption), including 37 to do with possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime,” Siame said.

If convicted, Kambwili, who is still a member of parliament for the ruling party, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Kambwili was not available to comment. His lawyer Keith Mweemba said he would defend the lawmaker in court.

Since being dismissed from the cabinet in November 2016, Kambwili has repeatedly accused government officials of corruption but without providing evidence, even after being given the opportunity to do so in parliament.

The government denies the allegations.

On Tuesday, the Speaker of parliament suspended a cabinet minister from its proceedings for one month for Kambwili within the parliament’s grounds last October.

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia and Catherine Evans

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