Zambian Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya on Thursday pleaded not guilty to corruption charges levelled against him on the first day of a trial.
Chilufya, 47, was arrested last month and charged with four counts of possession of property “suspected of being proceeds of crime”.
“I understand the charges and I plead not guilty,” Chilufya told judge Lameck Mwale at the magistrate court in Zambia’s capital Lusaka.
Graft investigators homed in on the minister in May after the minister allegedly amassed a sudden fortune.
According to court documents, Chilufya bought around $215,000-worth of shares in a lakeside lodge in 2017. He is also accused of using $165,000 to purchase a guest house and $52,000 for a boat.
The trial is set to resume on August 4 and Chilufya, who remains in office, could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
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