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Landmark Judgment – Chiyeso Lungu’s Properties Forfeited to the State

WhatsApp Image 2024-04-16 at 10.07.49 PM

In a landmark legal development, a panel of three Economic and Financial Crimes Court Judges, has delivered a judgment in favour of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), resulting in the forfeiture of properties belonging to Chiyeso Lungu, daughter of former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

The case, centred on allegations of illicit property acquisition, unfolded with careful legal arguments from both sides. The DPP asserted that two properties, Stand No. L/9390 and Plot No. LUSAK/LN-79093/1, were suspected to be proceeds of crime, valued at K9,375,438.62 and situated in State Lodge. Chiyeso Lungu, a legal practitioner, contended that the properties were acquired legitimately using funds provided by her parents, Edgar and Esther Lungu.

During the proceedings, Chiyeso Lungu emphasised that there was no law barring ownership of property exceeding known income levels. However, the court scrutinised the evidence presented, focusing on the crucial question of whether Chiyeso could substantiate her claim of legitimate acquisition. The DPP highlighted the significant value disparity between the properties and Chiyeso’s known income sources, raising reasonable suspicions.

The court stated, “From our analysis of the evidence before us, we find that the Interested Party has not provided evidence that the money used to procure and/or develop the Properties was given to her by her parents.” This quote encapsulated the court’s reasoning, emphasising the need for substantive proof to validate ownership claims, especially in cases involving suspected criminal origins.

The judgment, which ordered the forfeiture of Property No. 9390/M and LUSAK/LN-79093/1 to the state, underscored the importance of meeting evidential burdens to establish legitimate property ownership. Chiyeso Lungu was also condemned in costs, highlighting the legal repercussions of failing to substantiate claims adequately.

This decision marks a significant precedent in legal proceedings involving property forfeiture, emphasizing the stringent evidential standards required to establish legitimate ownership and defend against suspicions of criminal origins.

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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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