The Lusaka High Court has ruled that the seizure of MMD campaign materials imported by former President Rupiah Banda for the 2011 polls was illegal as the State did not follow the established procedure in law.
Judge Flugance Chisanga said the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), acting under the Taskforce on Corruption, did not follow the law when they seized and attempted to forfeit MMD bicycles, Chitenge materials and several containers belonging to former President Rupiah Banda.
“To serve the notice on the affected individual after the prescribed three months have elapsed is to circumvent the proscribed procedure, and altogether defeat the very purpose for which the notice was given,” the judgement, delivered on May 23rd, read.
“The stipulated procedure should not have been abrogated to disadvantage the plaintiff. On the foregoing the recovered property is not eligible to vest in the State, as no notice has been duly served on the plaintiff to enable him make a claims to the property…,” the judgment read.
This is a case in which Lusaka Lawyer Dickson Jere of Mvunga Associates filed an application in the High Court for Zambia challenging the ACC decision to seize the campaign materials on the grounds that the materials were bought by suspected stolen funds and had no known owner.
The Judge said the procedure which the ACC used to seize the goods without giving an opportunity to the owners to be heard was irregular and illegal and therefore the campaign materials cannot vest in the State.
The goods were seized in 2011 at a warehouse in Makeni where they were stored and registered in the name of Robinson Mukuka Nkonde, a former private secretary of Rupiah Banda when he was head of state.
Judge Chisanga also ruled that the ACC should pay legal costs for the case following a successful challenge in court in which the ACC had insisted that they failed to investigate the source of funds for the campaign materials because they could not find the owner.
The campaign materials were seized in 2011 by the Taskforce after President Banda lost the elections.
The Taskforce alleged that the materials were bought by suspected stolen funds and should be forfeited to the State as no owner claimed ownership.
The government has already released several vehicles that were seized by the government from the MMD after they failed to demand the cases in the High Court for Zambia.