The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has thrown a challenge at former first lady, Esther Lungu, to prove that her 15 double storey flats worth K24 million were, indeed, built by her husband, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
The State contended that the onus was on the former first lady to show that the properties in question located in State Lodge were not acquired through proceeds of crimes.
Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) senior investigations officer, Emmanuel Khondowe, in affidavit in reply to affidavit in opposition to notice of motion, said as far as investigations were concerned, the said properties ought to be forefeited to the State because they were not legitimately acquired.
“That merely stating that the properties were developed or built by her husband is not sufficient to absolve her of this responsibility,”
“That the interested party has not exhibited the movement of money from her husband to her account or to the contractor’s account to substantiate her claim that he built the properties and further, there was need for the interested party to demonstrate to the court how and where her husband obtained the money to develop the subject real estate,” he said.
Khondowe said neither Esther Lungu Foundation, which was only registered for PAYE nor allowances from her foreign trip as first lady, could enable her build such luxurious flats.
“I contend that despite a person not being charged with an offence, an application can be made against the property as it is the property that is in contravention of the law,” he submitted.
He further said, “I contend that the proceedings are not against the interested party but the property and therefore the issues of her being presumed innocent do not arise in the nature of these proceedings and as such, none of her constitutional rights have been breached as alleged,”.
The first Lady in an affidavit in opposition to notice of motion filed before the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, described as baseless the allegations by the DPP that the properties were tainted and acquired through criminal activities.
She contested it was unfair for the DPP to demand for the forfeiture of the seized flats without any prosecution before a competent court to prove her guilty.
The ex-First Lady said the DPP had not provided evidence to the said allegations to warrant the forfeiture, therefore, the proceedings were a violation of her constitutional rights.
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