PRESIDENT Alberto Fujimori ruled Peru, the tiny South American nation, with a strong arm from 28 July 1990 to 22 November 2000.
Despite being a terrible dictator who even suspended the constitution and ruled by decree for much of his reign as Peruvian president; Fujimori was credited with the restoration of Peru’s macroeconomic stability.
He was also praised for defeating the Shining Path insurgence which had ravaged the country for many years.
However in spite of these successes, Fujimori ended his presidency by fleeing to Japan where his parents hailed from.
He fled from his adopted country in November 2000 amid accusations of corruption and serious human rights abuses.
On his arrival in Japan, Fujimori attempted to resign his presidency via fax, but his resignation was rejected by the Peruvian Congress which preferred to remove him from office by the process of impeachment.
Fujimori maintained his self-imposed exile for nearly five years until November 2005 when he was arrested while visiting Chile.
Fujimori was extradited to face criminal charges in September 2007 after his seven-year self-imposed exile.
He was convicted of ordering an illegal seizure, human rights violations, killings and kidnappings and embezzlement after admitting that he had illegally given $15 million from the Peruvian Treasury to his chief of intelligence.
Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for all these offences. The verdict delivered by a three-judge panel marked the first time that an elected Head of State has been extradited to his home country and convicted of human rights violations.
In December 2017, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted Fujimori, who at that time was 79 years old and had served 10 years of his sentence; a humanitarian pardon.
The pardon sparked protests across Peru and President Kuczynski was accused of corruption and that the pardon was a payback for the support that Fujimori’s son, Kenji Fujimori who had helped Kuczynski survive an impeachment vote.
The Peruvian Supreme Court
The Peruvian Supreme Court reversed Fujimori’s pardon on October 3, 2018 and the 80-year-old former strongman went back into prison.
His supporters led by Fujimori’s politically powerful daughter Keiko Fujimori strongly condemned the Supreme Court decision.
“This is persecution against my family,” Ms. Fujimori said.
Fujimori’s conviction, probably the first of its kind in the Third World, is confirmation that criminal offences committed by people serving in high public office do not just fade away.
They do not get erased by time or absorbed because of acquired political power. Therefore if any investigation or inquiry unearths criminal wrong doing by people that held public office, the law must take its course.
The example of Fujimori’s trial and conviction after so many years of leaving office tells us that those that are calling for a judge-led commission of inquiry into our privatisation are correct and it should proceed without delay. It should not be politicised.
Zambia Privatisation exercise
There are a lot of issues that need answers regarding the Zambia Privatisation exercise. Why for example some were asserts sold to lower bidders. How did the consultants and officers of the Privatisation Agency get shares in the privatised entities? Did their terms of engagement allow them to get shares? Did they declare interest when getting these shares?
Who bought Chilanga Cement for example? We were told that Chilanga was bought by the Commonwealth Development Corporation but an inspection at PACRA shows that Pan African Cement, a company registered in Mauritius which is a tax haven is the majority shareholder while Lafarge is a minority partner.
Why was Luanshya Mine sold to a company which had no capacity to run the mine but engaged in stripping the assets and taking them out of the country. What happened to the Ndola Copper and Precious Metals Refinery?
There are many questions to be answered and the proposed commission of inquiry should not be considered as political persecution of any Zambian. If any Zambians are involved in politics and were involved in the privatisation exercise, it will be a good thing for them to act like statesmen and step aside; wait for the inquiry to come to an end and then decide whether to remain in politics or go to jail if they are found wanting.
Those saying it’s a “stupid” thing to conduct an inquiry after so many years should stop this stupidity of thinking every Zambian is stupid.
It’s also wrong to make sweeping statements without giving reasons why the exercise should or should not take place. Our leaders whether in opposition or in government should put Zambia first; not their parties or their party leaders.
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