Zambian investigators have arrested a son of former president Rupiah Banda for corruption and possessing assets bought with dirty money, a police spokeswoman has said.

"Andrew Banda has been formally arrested and charged for corrupt practices and being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime," Namukolo Kasumpa, a spokeswoman for the criminal investigations department, said on Thursday.

Banda, currently his country's deputy high commissioner to India, was arrested barely 24 hours after police took a statement from him.

Andrew is the eldest son of former president Banda, who lost to opposition leader Michael Sata in September.

He is accused of charging Italian construction company Fratelli Locci two per cent of all its earnings for building roads.

Authorities also say Banda could not explain the origin of $67,000 in his bank account, money suspected to come from criminal activity.

He was later released on bail, his lawyer Sakwiba Sikota said.

Arresr downplayed

Rupiah Banda had little comment on his son's arrest, saying he had not been in touch with him for "a long time now so I am not really following what is happening".

"But the courts have many people's sons and daughters, everybody goes before the police so let's not make this an issue," he said.

Andrew's younger brother Henry is on the run from authorities, also on corruption charges, and thought to be in hiding in South Africa.

Since winning last year's election, President Michael Sata has launched a broad crackdown on corruption.

Several high ranking politicians and former ministers are facing various charges of fraud, in what has been described by Sata's opponents as a political vendetta.

Last week, the former labour minister in Banda's government was jailed for two years with hard labour on corruption charges.

Source: Agencies