State renders Lungu’s daughter chickenless as she forfeits dubiously-acquired farm

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THE STATE has grabbed property worth over K9.3 million including a farm with chicken runs believed to have been dubiously acquired by daughter of former president Edgar Lungu.

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Yesterday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Court ordered the forfeiture of Chiyeso Lungu’s properties worth K9, 375, 438.62 in state lodge area.

Chiyeso who is a lawyer, claimed that the two farms with a high-cost house, four chicken runs, and three flats were paid for by her parents.

However, it has all ended in tears as the Court declared that she had failed to explain her source of income.

Though Judges Ann Ononuju, Mwanajiti Mabbolobbolo and Vincent Siloka took Judicial notice of Lungu’s political curriculum vitae, they refused to create a dangerous exemplar were people who acquire property illegally, point to their fathers or generous people as the source of their wealth when asked to account for the same, without giving clear, logical, consistent, believable and convincing evidence.

In this case the DPP moved a motion of a non conviction based forfeiture order in the Economic and Financial Crimes Court seeking a relief that Chiyeso’s properties acquired between 2013 and 2021, be forfeited to the State.

This was after investigations conducted by DEC senior investigations officer Emmanuel Khondowe revealed that the former president’s daughter had assets that were disproportionate to her income neither did she have viable sources of income.

Delivering judgement in the matter Judge Ononuju indicated that Chiyeso did not discharge the evidentiary burden of proving that the money used to acquire the assets was given to her by her parents.

She said though there is nothing wrong with fathers gifting their offspring property, it is imperative that the recipient when called upon, should prove that the property was indeed given or acquired by the benevolent father without casting any shadow of doubt.

“Without an aorta of evidence by Chiyeso that the funds used to purchase or develop the properties were given by her parents, it would not comport with common sense and good judgement for us to hold that the subject properties are free from being tainted,”judge Ononuju said.

“Since we have stated and found that we are not satisfied that the money used to acquire or develop the properties was given to the interested party by her father on grounds that no evidence whatsoever has been furnished, we cannot proceed to interrogate the source of the money for the father.”

She said Director of Public Prosecutions Gilbert Phiri has successfully made out his case for non-conviction based forfeiture of tainted property.

“All that the applicant (State) was required to do was to create doubt by providing some initial prima facie evidence that the properties may have been acquired illegitimately by the interested party (Chiyeso),”judge Ononuju indicated.

“The moment that a prima facie case was made out, the evidentiary burden which had shifted to the interested party was not discharged to the satisfaction of this court as required by the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act.”

She emphasized that Chiyeso who is also a director of Crest lodge failed to provide payslips, bank statements, money transfer records, business records or official records, or testamentary wills and such other relevant documents.

“In her affidavit in opposition to the application, the interested party failed to demonstrate all these, other than making a bare statement pointing to her parents as the source of the money,” said judge Ononuju.

“We accordingly order that property No. 9390/M and LUSAK/LN-79093/1 be forfeited to the state to be applied as the DPP deems fit within the confines of the law.”

Chiyeso was further condemned to costs which will be taxed in default of agreement.

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba April 17, 2024.

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