Power and Politics

Ex-First Lady, Esther Lungu, to know fate in August as properties worth K24 million face forfeiture to govt


Former First Lady Esther Lungu’s fate regarding her 15 double-storey flats, valued at K24 million, allegedly tainted property, will be decided in August.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, is seeking the forfeiture of the properties, believed to be proceeds of crime.

The trial, held in chambers before Judges Pixie Yangailo, Ian Mabbolobbolo, and Vincent Siloka, concluded on Monday.

Esther arrived at the Ministry of Home Affairs, accompanied by her husband, former President Edgar Lungu, and a sizable number of opposition Patriotic Front (PF) party members, including former Lands Minister Jean Kapata and presidential political advisor Chris Zumani Zimba.

The party members waited patiently outside for over three hours as the matter was heard.

Read more: Attorney-General Kabesha asks court to set aside judgment permitting ex-President Lungu to contest future elections

At the conclusion of the trial, the court reserved August as the month for judgment delivery and would advise on the actual day.

According to the notice for forfeiture of the property, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) senior investigations officer, Emmanuel Khondowe, contended that the former First Lady’s known income was significantly lower than the value of the properties in question.

Khondowe submitted that the former First Lady’s income and expenditure between August 1, 2012, and August 16, 2022, revealed an income of K3,104,487.14 against an expenditure of K2,511,117.09, with a variation of K593,370.05.

“I compared the known income of K3,104,487.14 against the four properties with a combined value of K24,256,434.55, which showed a variation of K21,151,947.41 above her known income,” he stated.

Esther opposed the forfeiture of the 15 double-storey flats located in State Lodge, arguing that they were matrimonial properties developed by her husband, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

She described the DPP’s allegations that the properties were tainted and acquired through criminal activities as baseless and challenged the DPP to prove her guilt in a competent court before demanding forfeiture without evidence.

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