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DPP SEEKS LEAVE TO APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT ON LANDMARK DRUG TRAFFICKING AND FOREX TRADING RULINGS

WhatsApp Image 2024-07-05 at 3.06.05 PM


Lusaka, Zambia – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has taken a significant step by seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Zambia (SCZ) against recent Court of Appeal of Zambia (CAZ) decisions. These rulings allowed appeals in two high-profile cases involving drug trafficking and illegal forex trading, sparking considerable public interest and legal debate.
The first case, which drew widespread attention, involves a bus conductor accused of drug trafficking. Initially adjudicated by Hon. Mulife (now a Constitutional Court Judge), this case exposed substantial illicit activities. Law enforcement officials caught the accused red-handed with a significant quantity of drugs. Subsequent investigations revealed that the accused had acquired multiple properties using proceeds from his criminal activities. After he was convicted on two of the preferred charges and sentenced to five year’s imprisonment, the DPP, further, initiated Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture proceedings, resulting in the High Court ruling forfeiting the property to the State. However, the convicted Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal (CAZ), which overturned the forfeiture, allowing him to retain the contested assets.
In the second case, a group of foreign nationals were apprehended at the Kai Kai shopping Centre near the Zambia-Congo Kasumbalesa border. The prosecution demonstrated that these individuals were engaged in unauthorised forex trading, handling substantial sums of foreign currency without the necessary licenses, thus breaching financial regulations. The CAZ’s ruled in favour of the Appellants enabling them to keep the funds despite their unlicensed activities.
When contacted for a comment, the DPP expressed grave concerns over these rulings, asserting that they undermine the strenuous efforts of law enforcement agencies in combating serious crimes like drug trafficking and illegal financial activities. According to the DPP, these decisions could potentially embolden other criminals, thereby posing a threat to public safety and the rule of law.
The DPP’s appeal to the SCZ is grounded in the argument that allowing the retention of assets acquired through illegal means sets a dangerous precedent. Such a precedent could significantly impede the fight against crime by complicating the seizure of illicitly obtained assets. The appeal will advocate for the principle that assets linked to illegal activities should be forfeited to the state, serving as a powerful deterrent to prospective offenders.

Legal experts are closely scrutinising this development, recognising that the Supreme Court of Zambia’s (SCZ) decision will carry profound and far-reaching implications for the landscape of asset recovery in Zambia. The DPP’s decisive action is viewed not merely as a procedural appeal but as a crucial moment in reinforcing the fundamental principle that crime must not pay.
By challenging these rulings, the DPP aims to ensure that the judicial system unequivocally supports the efforts of law enforcement in dismantling criminal enterprises and stripping wrongdoers of their ill-gotten gains.
The recent Court of Appeal rulings, which have returned forfeited property to individuals, risk severely crippling the efficacy of lifestyle audits and laws targeting unexplained wealth. Such decisions undermine vital mechanisms designed to combat corruption and financial crimes, potentially allowing illicit gains to go unchecked and unchallenged.
This move underscores a commitment to upholding justice and the rule of law, sending a clear message that Zambia remains steadfast in its resolve to prevent criminals from benefitting from their illicit activities.

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