President Lungu sued over Mswati’s Inyatsi land gift, faces impeachment



BY : ZWELI MARTIN DLAMINI

JOHANNESBURG :Zambian President Edgar Lungu has been taken to court by Sean T. Tembo, the President of the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) over the now controversial land previously owned by Inyatsi Properties and presented to him by King Mswati as a gift.

The PeP President confirmed these developments when reached for comments by this Swaziland News publication as calls for the removal of Edgar Lungu over allegations of corruption and or abuse office intensify. Sean Tembo said as the opposition party, they strongly believe President Edgar Lungu violated provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act that restrict any public officer from receiving a gift. “Basically we took the matter to the Constitutional Court of Zambia. Our contention is that by receiving the gift, the President violated the Anti-Corruption Act of 2012, which restrict any public officer from receiving a gift. We are seeking a declaration from the court that the receiving of the gift was unconstitutional and illegal,” he said Court documents in our possession suggests that Sean T. Tembo told the court that on or round May 2018, information reached the public domain that the President of the Republic of Zambia Edgar Chagwa Lungu received land as a gift in the Kingdom of eSwatini formerly known as Swaziland.

“Further that the Republican President has plans to build a private mansion on the said land for himself and his family. My Lady this information was confirmed by official documents from the Kingdom of eSwatini, which showed that President Lungu was the new owner of the land. After massive rage and outcry from the Citizenry, who alleged corruption and abuse of office on the part of the Republican President, the Honorable Minister of Information Ms. Dora Siliya and Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Mr Amos Chanda informed the public that the Land in issue was granted to the President as a gift by King Mswati (the King of eSwatini) in his capacity as a citizen of Zambia and as the Republican President of Zambia” read the court papers.

Sean T. Tembo further informed the Constitutional Court that shortly after the information of the gift reached the public, the Honorable Minister told the public that there was nothing wrong at law for the President to receive a gift from another Head of State describing such as “a practice of good international relations” “Your Petitioner as President for the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) and acting in the interest of the Zambian citizenry has Petitioned this Honorable Court seeking declaratory reliefs against the actions of the President. My Lady for this matter to be resolved, we invite this Honorable Court to consider the following legal issues. Whether or not, the President is a “public officer” as defined in section 3 of the Anti- Corruption Act No 3 of 2012” read the court papers The PeP President further invited the Constitutional Court to consider whether the provisions in the Republican Constitution defining “public officer” were intended to negate liability under existing laws or are primarily included for purposes of interpreting the provisions of the Constitution, particularly in the light of Article 92(1) of the Republican Constitution.

“The implications of section 66 of the Anti-Corruption Act No 3 of 2012 which shifts the evidential burden of proof to the public officer in receipt of a gift other than a casual gift” Sean Tembo told the court. He invited the court to interpret the law further alleging that actually President Edgar Lungu “is a public officer” as the term “public body” also includes government.

“The Republican President is a public officer under section 3 of the Anti-Corruption Act, No 3 of 2012 as he is head of Government as stipulated under Article 92(1) of the Republication Constitution. The definition of “public officer” includes a person who holds office in a public body and the term “public body” includes Government” Tembo stated in court application.

The PeP President further informed the court that a public officer is a person who works for Government adding that Article 92(I) of the Republican Constitution clearly points our clearly that Edgar Lungu “is the Head of Government” He alleged that the President obtained the property in his capacity as the Head of Government and or a public officer.

“For purposes of examining whether the purported presidential land gift violates Section 21(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act, we can first of all summarize the positions by stating that the offence of abuse of office under this section occurs: When a public official uses their official positions to obtain property for themselves or another person, or when a public official uses information obtained as a result of their official functions to obtain property, an advantage or benefit” for themselves or another person” read the court papers.

The lawsuit against President Lungu comes after media reports alleging that he received land from King Mswati as a gift. Mswati, one of Edgar Lungu’s allies rules the Kingdom of eSwatini as Africa’s last absolute Monarch and he allegedly manipulated the Constitution of that country to place himself above the law. The land that was presented to the Zambian President as a “gift” is situated at Nkonyeni, Sidvokodvo about 50 kilometers away from Mbabane, the capital city of the Kingdom of eSwatini. It was previously owned by Inyatsi Properties, a company with links to Inyatsi Construction that has been benefiting multi-million tenders in the Kingdom of eSwatini and Zambia. This Swaziland News publication subsequently published an investigative story that links the President to a huge Inyatsi syndicate that involves King Mswati, Swaziland Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, the late powerful businessman Victor Gamedze and Inyatsi Director Michello Shakantu among others. Inyatsi Group Holdings operates in three separate divisions in Zambia being Inyatsi Construction Ltd, Inyatsi Roads and Inyatsi Buildings Ltd. On another note, our sources in Zambia disclosed that moves to impeach President Edgar Lungu are in the process over serious allegations of corruption and abuse of office among others.

“There is already a motion of impeachment against him awaiting National Assembly Speaker’s go ahead” said one of our sources in Zambia.

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