Mr Blair said the judgement against former president, Frederick Chiluba, and others, was a great victory for Zambians and showed Government’s commitment to making those who stole from the State account for their actions.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations, John Musukuma, announced Mr Blair’s congratulatory message to President Mwanawasa and Zambians in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday.
“This is an historic victory for the people of Zambia and it shows both their, and your commitment to bringing those who steal from the state to account, whatever their nationality no matter how powerful they are,” Mr Blair said.
He added: “I am glad that the money that was plundered can now be returned to the Zambian people.”
Mr Blair’s congratulatory message to President Mwanawasa and the people of Zambia came barely two weeks after six European governments and the United States of America welcomed the London High Court judgement against Dr Chiluba and others as a historic victory for Zambians.
The Western countries said it was courageous for the Zambian government to have pursued the case, especially that a former head of state had been held accountable for corrupt practices.
This is in a civil case in which Judge Peter Smith found Dr Chiluba and others liable for fraud and abuse of office in which US$46 million was stolen from State coffers.
Judge Smith ordered the defendants to pay back the Zambian government 85 per cent of the stolen money within 14 days.
Two of the six Zambian defendants, Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu, have since appealed against the judgment while Dr Chiluba refuses to recognise the judgement, calling it a political conspiracy against him.