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PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said that former intelligence chief, Xavier Chungu, who surrendered to the police on Wednesday after four years in self-imposed exile, will be treated in accordance with the law.

Mr Banda told journalists before his departure for Burundi yesterday that he was aware that Chungu was in detention but declined to comment further as law enforcement agencies were handling the matter.

“We got a report that Mr Chungu arrived in the country, the law will take its course. To that effect, I cannot comment further,” the president said in response to a question on what he thought about Chungu’s arrest.

Before he fled the country, Chungu was appearing in court with high-profile figures including former president Frederick Chiluba on offences involving theft of Government resources.

Chairperson of the Task Force on Corruption, Max Nkole on Wednesday said no deal had been struck with Chungu, who voluntarily returned to Zambia.

Meanwhile, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has challenged the law enforcement agencies to firmly but fairly handle the case of Chungu and advised against cutting any deal with him.

Welcoming Chungu’s return after being on the run for four years, TIZ executive director, Goodwell Lungu said in Lusaka yesterday that there should be no short-cut deals in handling the case.

Mr Lungu said in an interview that Chungu had done well to return home and now the challenge was on the law enforcement agencies and the Government to determine how they would proceed with the case.

“While we are mindful of the fact that any suspect is innocent until proven guilty, we would like the law enforcement agencies to firmly and appropriately apply the law in this matter and bring it to its logical conclusion in court,” he said.

Chungu was arrested on Wednesday for contempt of court, having jumped bail while facing charges of theft by public servant and theft of motor vehicles.

He said Chungu’s return triggered further concern about the long period cases took to be disposed of, noting that most of the current corruption cases had been running for the past seven years.

Mr Lungu said there was need for the authorities to speed up the cases so that justice was not delayed.

He said expeditious disposal of cases would be in the interest of everyone including the suspects, the State, the tax payers and the justice system.

Copyright © 2008 The Times of Zambia. All rights reserved.

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