State House has issued a statement in support of embattled Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya after criticism from some quarters questioning why the Health Minister has continued to serve despite having been charged with corruption.
“Despite being charged with criminal offenses, in this case, corruption allegations, Hon. Chilufya is currently innocent until proven otherwise by the courts of law, ” read the statement before adding that the assumption is predicated on the principle of Presumption of Innocence which is enshrined in the Constitution of Zambia and is consistent with according an accused Fair Trial.
The statement went on: “According to Article 18 (2) of the Zambian Constitution, every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he or she is proved or pleads guilty. And since the Zambia Constitution, as stated in Article 1 (1) overrides any other written law, or customary law, or customary practice, everyone must respect the Presumption of Innocence Law.”
“Therefore, a mere allegation is not a conviction and it is not the duty of the accused to prove his innocence. The principle of Presumption of Innocence until proven guilty by the courts of law is also enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.”
Accordingly, the statement read: “His Excellency, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia will, therefore, presume the innocence of Hon. Chilufya and leave it to the prosecution and the courts to prove the minister, otherwise.”
The statement concluded by saying the President respects the Independence of the Judiciary and other Organs such as the Police, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Drug Enforcement Commission, among others, and will do nothing to interfere in the operations of these entities as long as he remains President.