Minister of Local Govt, Nkombo, advised to address illegalities at Zambia Institute of Estate Agents


Former Zambia Institute of Estate Agents (ZIEA) Registrar, Chaliafya Katungula, has called for the swift appointment of a senior legal counsel or legal practitioner to the Institute’s Council.

In a letter written to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Gary Nkombo, dated February, 2, 2024, Katungula said this should be done in conjunction with the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ).

He claimed that in recent times, it had become increasingly clear that the Estate Agents Act had been grossly abused.

“The lack of a senior legal counsel on the ZIEA Council has led to a multitude of illegal decisions being made and tolerated,” Katungula alleged.

He claimed that the ZIEA’s integrity had been compromised, with two ineligible members having sat on the Council and drawing allowances.

Katungula stated that the egregious violation of rules and regulations was not a secret and even the ZIEA legislative committee were aware and this was leading to members resigning.

“However, this does not erase the fact that decisions made by the ZIEA Council during their tenure are null and void and that drawing allowances illegally is a criminal act,” he said.

Katungula expressed concern that the current ZIEA Council and it’s members were choosing to ignore the glaring irregularities.

He stated that there had been further lack of adherence to the Estate Agents regulations 2016 or the Statutory Instrument number 3 of 2016.

“I am deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the real estate sector to money laundering, especially considering the ZIEA’s pivotal role in regulating the sector as acknowledged by the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC),” Katungula said.

The former ZIEA Registrar stated that it was unacceptable that those tasked with regulation could be implicated in financial irregularities.

He noted with concern that with an estimated 5,000 non registered estate agents in Zambia, the compliance rate with the Estate Agents Act was strikingly low.

“The high cost and complexity of becoming a licensed estate agent contribute to this issue and the current fee structure should be revised to encourage better regulation,” Katungula said.

Read More: Unregistered, unregulated real estate agents serving as corruption agents —Transparency body alleges

He urged the Minister to reassess the circumstances surrounding the current ZIEA Council’s appointment, especially considering their apathy towards the illegality of two members participation.

Katungula stated that the lack of oversight by a legal practitioner not only undermines the Estate Agents industry but also poses serious risks of money laundering.

“It is critical that our regulatory bodies are composed of qualified, ethical individuals to uphold trust and legitimacy within the real estate sector,” he said.

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