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A Court update: Tasila Lungu case

asset_recovery

DPP Emerges Victorious in Forfeiture Case Against Tasila Lungu.

In a significant legal victory, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) emerged victorious in a Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture case against Tasila Lungu, daughter of Former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The court’s ruling on the 19th of March, 2024, reaffirmed the DPP’s legal jurisdiction and upheld the integrity of the legal process.

The genesis of this legal discourse traces back to the initiation of Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture proceedings by the DPP, represented as the Applicant. Supported by an affidavit sworn by senior investigations officer Emmanuel Khondowe of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), the DPP unveiled a stark contrast between Tasila Lungu’s declared income and amassed assets.

Emmanuel Khondowe’s affidavit presented a concise analysis of Tasila Lungu’s financial landscape, spanning her earnings as a Councilor in Kanyama constituency from 2016 to 2021. The investigation revealed that Tasila’s known income during this period allegedly falls significantly short of her declared assets, raising serious questions about the sources and legitimacy of her wealth accumulation.

Key findings from the investigation outlined that Tasila Lungu’s earnings as a Councilor totaled less than K184,966.41, while her declared assets stood at a staggering K6,130,505.58. Furthermore, the valuation of Farm No. F/2278 at K8,540,098.00 and the estimated costs of related construction works at K13,950,378.83 further highlighted substantial financial activities surrounding the property.

During the proceedings, Tasila Lungu’s lawyers raised several key preliminary issues challenging the DPP’s jurisdiction and representation. These included questioning the DPP’s legal capacity to sue or be sued, the DPP’s representation by State Advocates, and adherence to specific High Court Rules.

Tasila Lungu’s legal team argued that the DPP lacked jurisdiction to initiate forfeiture proceedings. However, the court found that the DPP’s jurisdiction was clearly outlined in constitutional provisions, empowering the DPP to institute legal actions related to financial crimes.

Another issue raised was the representation of the DPP by State Advocates. Tasila Lungu’s lawyers contended that such representation was improper. The court, however, cited legal statutes allowing the DPP to delegate powers and affirmed the legitimacy of State Advocates’ representation.

Tasila Lungu’s legal team also questioned the adherence to specific High Court Rules in commencing proceedings. The court analyzed the procedural aspects and concluded that the DPP had followed appropriate legal protocols.

In the decisive ruling on preliminary issues, the court affirmed the DPP’s jurisdiction, legal capacity, and adherence to procedural protocols. Consequently, the substantive matter will proceed to judgment based on the record before it, as the main matter remains unopposed. Costs were awarded to the Applicant, the DPP, to be taxed in default of agreement.

The court’s decisive ruling, which acknowledged the DPP’s jurisdiction, legal capacity, and adherence to procedural protocols, is a result of investigative work conducted by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC). This collaboration underscores the critical role of thorough investigations in upholding legal integrity and ensuring justice.

With the substantive matter slated for judgment delivery on the 19th of April, 2024, this ruling marks a significant milestone in the ongoing legal proceedings, showcasing the importance of collaborative efforts between state institutions, transparency, accountability, and adherence to established legal frameworks.

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The National Prosecution Authority is a statutory body established by the National Prosecution Authority act No. 34 of 2010 with a mandate of instituting criminal proceedings on behalf of the state.

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