MUSUKWA CHALLENGES SEIZURE OF HIS PROPERTIES IN COURT.
FORMER mines and minerals development minister Richard Musukwa and six others have dragged the state to the Lusaka High Court seeking a declaration that the search and seizure of their properties by DEC officers was illegal.
The six other petitioners include; Jenala Lungu, Jacqueline Musukwa, Kumapili Hotel Limited, Mwanangwa Resources Limited, Tachizya Company Limited and Twenty-four seven stand by security limited.
The seven, who have cited the Attorney General as the respondent in the matter, also want a declaration that the officers from DEC have no authority to issue a search or seizure warrant in the manner they did and against the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia and the Prohibition and Prevention of money laundering Act no.13 of 2001 of the laws of Zambia.
They further want an order that the seizure of the petitioners’ properties without the petitioners ever being charged or tried for any offence related to the Prohibition and Prevention of money laundering Act No.14 of 2001 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No. 35 of 2021, both pre and post the seizures, violates the petitioners’ rights to a fair trial, jeopardises and impugns their right to be presumed innocent.
Musukwa and the others submitted in their petition that on May 16, 2023, a combined team of officers comprising Zambia police, DEC and office of the President raided their properties in Chililabombwe.
They stated that on the same day, the officers entered and raided the first petitioner’s farm without any authority.
“On May 16, 2023, a combined team of officers from Zambia Police, the office of the President and from Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) entered and raided the residence of the first and second petitioner at house No. 11, Mopani Avenue, Chililabombwe. On the said day, the officers also entered and raided the first petitioner’s farm situated in Chililabombwe. The officers equally entered and raided the residence/ properties of the third petitioner herein situated at plot 3170 and 374 Congo road Kamenza, Chililabombwe on the Copperbelt Province of the Republic of Zambia. The first and second petitioners were not at their above mentioned properties and the officers were accordingly advised of the fact but the said officers entered the said premises without any right or authority,” they stated.
“And once on the premises, they started issuing out search warrants and notices of seizure that were purportedly pre-signed by the DEC Director General. The officers seized 11 vehicles, house No. 11 Mopani, four decorative stones and Maverick shotgun serial number MV0204615 calibre 12B, belonging to the first petitioner. They proceeded to the first petitioner’s farm without authority and prepared a defective search and seizure warrant while on the said property which was by way of a pre signed document. Whilst at the third petitioner’s residence, the officers in the late hour of May 16, 2023, prepared a notice of seizure bearing description of goods as Mapili lodge property and Mwanangwa House in Chililabombwe and left the third petitioner’s premises. The officers were led by one officer Silomba Chimwemwe and the entire operation started at 10:00 hours till the early hours of May 17, to be precise about 02:00 hours”.
Musukwa and others also want an order of certiorari, quashing the warrants purportedly issued by the DEC Director General and an order of mandamus compelling DEC to return all the properties that were seized.
They further want damages for anguish and loss of use of properties and damages for trespass to property.