Sudden reappearance of Zambia’s former spy chief raises suspicions

Xavier Chungu

Xavier Chungu

Zambian Police have announced the capture of Xavier Chungu, the country’s former spy chief, who had fled abroad in 2004, escaping trial for embezzlement charges. For nearly a decade, Chungu was the powerful Director of the Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS). In 2001, following the regime change in Lusaka after the election to the Presidency of the late Levy Mwanawasa, Chungu was dismissed from his post. He was then prosecuted for embezzling state funds and imprisoned for several months. In 2004, however, Chungu jumped bail and escaped to an unknown country (purportedly Canada) using a false passport. A warrant for his arrest was issued by the Zambian Police as well as by Interpol. Earlier last week, Xavier Chungu voluntarily surrendered himself to Zambian Police officers at Lusaka International Airport, after arriving there on a British Airways flight from South Africa. The government’s Task Force on Corruption has announced that Chungu will soon appear in court to answer charges of contempt and embezzlement of state property. But some observers remain skeptical about Chungu’s voluntary return, and speculate that the former spy chief decided to return to the country after striking a deal with government prosecutors. The suspected deal is said to relate to the ongoing trial of Frederick Chiluba, Zambia’s President from 1991 to 2001. In 2003, Chiluba was charged along with and several of his former ministers and senior officials with 168 counts of theft of public funds totaling over $40 million. Chungu, who is accused of being at the center of the embezzlement conspiracy, is thus said to have “struck a deal that would see him being turned into a State witness”. An anonymous source told South Africa’s Southern Times that he now “doubt[s] whether Chungu will be successfully prosecuted”. The chair of the Zambian government’s Task Force on Corruption, Maxwell Nkole, said on Friday that “whether Chungu becomes a state-witness or not is entirely up to the prosecution to determine”.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to Sudden reappearance of Zambia’s former spy chief raises suspicions

  1. james says:

    Bwana was just the one I salute boss up to now.

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