Zambian lawmaker arrested

2011-10-13 18:01
Lusaka - A newly elected Zambian lawmaker has been arrested for faking his nationality, after investigators determined that he came from Angola, the immigration department said on Thursday.

Robert Chiseke, a lawmaker of Mangango constituency on the Angolan border, was arrested and detained on Tuesday, immigration spokesperson Kennedy Simenda told AFP.

Chiseke belongs to the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), which had been in power for 20 years until losing last month's elections to new President Michael Sata.

"Where we suspect there is something illegal we are obliged to arrest and that is within our mandate. It is not witch-hunting as some people may think," Simenda said.

If convicted, Chiseke would be forced to vacate his seat in parliament.

Sata on Tuesday had accused the former government of allowing refugees to obtain Zambian national identity cards and claimed that one of them had even contested last month's polls. Chiseke was arrested hours later.

Home Affairs Minister Kennedy Sakeni said investigations against Chiseke were launched long before the polls, denying any political motivation.

"The investigation was not started by us. But what you should know is that with the MMD, whenever something suits them, it's not corruption," he said.

"They were trying to stop these investigations. We don't want corruption in this country," Sakeni said.

About 25 000 Angolan refugees live in Zambia, but they have been urged to return home since their home country's civil war ended in 2002.

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