I WAS ACCUSED OF RECEIVING $300,000- HERBALIST ELIZABETH CHANJE PHIRI
A witness in the case of former First Lady, Esther Lungu, has said that she was accused of stealing $300,000 by Catherine Banda, a niece to former President Edgar Lungu.
Elizabeth Chanje Phiri, a Lusaka herbalist, has testified that she was a traditional doctor who came to know Catherine Banda and became her patient.
Phiri has also testified that she and her daughter signed an agreement from lawyers to surrender the property out of ignorance.
In her testimony-in-chief, Elizabeth Chanje Phiri stated that she learnt that an amount of $400,000 allegedly belonging to former First Lady Esther Lungu, was missing and that she was accused of having recieved part of it amounting to $300,000 of it from Catherine Banda.
Elizabetha Chanje Phiri also testified how she, her daughter Fuhan Patel and Catherine Banda were allegedly arrested in the quest to recover the missing $400,000.00.
Phiri’s earlier detailed reference to former President, Edgar Lungu and the Anti-Corruption Commission was expunged from the court record as it was ruled as hearsay by the Court.
Elizabeth Chanje Phiri testified that she denied ever getting the $300,000 from Catherine Banda but was allegedly forced to accept and make a confession in a recording.
She stated that Catherine Banda reported to Mrs. Esther Lungu that she, Elizabeth Chanje Phiri bought 3 motor vehicles and a property in Libala from the $300,000.00 obtained from her.
She said the former First Lady allegedly recorded the conversation of her confessing to receiving the $300,000.
She named the co-accused to former first lady as persons that acted as police officers to retrieve the articles from her and her daughter, Fuhan Patel; the 3 cars, and certificate of title to the Libala property.
Elizabeth Chanje Phiri is a Lusaka based herbalist who complained to the Police that her 3 vehicles and a property were grabbed from her.
She stated that she was accused of receiving $300,000 from Catherine Banda, a niece to former President Edgar Lungu.
She was giving testimony where she alleged that her property was retrieved from her to recover the $300,000.00.
She claimed that the action to surrender her property was unfair as the property was bought from her own money and not the $300,000 from Mrs. Esther Lungu.
She said she recently bought a property in Libala and the title of the property was registered in other names recorded as Samuel Ndhlovu and Edna Banda as she hadn’t changed the title.
She said she surrendered the property because she was threatened of torture and death by Police officers investigating the matter.
In this case, the State has accused Former First Lady, Esther Lungu of stealing 3 cars and a certificate of title from Elizabeth Chanje Phiri and Fuhan Patel.
Catherine Banda, the niece to Zambia’s former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Catherine Banda, was entrusted with the safekeeping of $400,000 by Mrs. Lungu but later gave this amount to the herbalist, Elizabeth Chanje Phiri, and her daughter, Fuhana Patel.
When Mrs. Esther Lungu requested the return of her funds from Catherine Banda, it was established that the money was passed to Elizabeth Chanje Phiri and her daughter Fuhana Patel.
However, investigations revealed that having been surrendered to Elizabeth Phiri and Fuhana Patel, the duo proceeded to buy cars and a property in Libala.
Family meetings aimed at resolving the issue disclosed that the herbalist and her daughter had utilized the funds to acquire the same property in question from money obtained from Catherine Banda.
In an effort to reach an agreement, the parties involved decided that Elizabeth Phiri and Fuhana Patel would relinquish the certificate of title for the disputed property (stand number S/Lusaka/SLN 0003/2977, located in Libala South Water Works Area) and three motor vehicles—a Mitsubishi Canter bearing registration number BAV 5282, a Toyota Allex with registration number BAV 3986, and a Toyota Runx, also registered as BAV 3986—to compensate for the loss of money belonging to Mrs. Esther Lungu.
These events occurred in August 2022.
But in a twist of events, Elizabeth Chanje Phiri and Fuhana Patel in January 2023year complained to the Zambia Police that Mrs. Esther Lungu had grabbed their cars and title to their property.
This transaction led to a Elizabeth Chanje Phiri and Fuhana Patel regarding the alleged theft of their vehicles and property by the former First Lady.
Matter has been adjourned to 14;30hrs.