Zambia Seizes Properties Linked to Former President Edgar Lungu

Lusaka, Zambia — The lawyer for Zambia’s former President Edgar Lungu has denounced a government takeover of some 20 properties linked to his family, calling it a political witch hunt. Zambia’s current president has been cracking down on corruption, but critics say he is targeting political opponents.

The government officially seized the properties from the Lungu family last week. They include 15 two-story flats, a three-story lodge, a farm and a house. The properties were seized under the 2010 Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crimes Law, which allows the state to seize assets it believes were acquired through illegal means.

Former President Lungu ‘s lawyer, Makebi Zulu, told VOA that neither he nor his clients have been served with notice on any process before any court regarding the asset seizures.

In talking to law enforcement agencies since the investigation began last year, Zulu said his clients have provided sufficient explanation for how they acquired the properties. He said the state is deliberately withholding that information to embarrass Lungu, wife Esther and their children.

“We are confident that we are standing on firm ground. Our clients are innocent of everything that they are alleging,” Zulu said. “As a matter of fact, we are disappointed that they’re not getting down to investigate matters as they ought to.”

In an interview with VOA, Emmanuel Mwamba, a spokesman for Lungu’s Patriotic Front party, accused the government of abusing the law. Mwamba lamented that the properties in question were seized before investigations were finalized.