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ConCourt asks Tembo to amend Lungu eSwatini land gift petition

THE Constitutional Court says the petition filed by Patriots for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo in which he wants the court to determine the legality of the land gift which President Edgar Lungu was allegedly given by his eSwatini counterpart is defective.

Constitutional Court judge Mungeni Mulenga yesterday ruled that the petition was defective in its form and granted Tembo leave to file an amended originating process following his application for leave.

She ordered that the amended originating process be filed and served to the respondent before June 15.

On June 4, Tembo petitioned the Constitutional Court to pronounce itself of the legality of President Lungu receiving a gift of land from his counterpart King Mswati of the Kingdom of eSwatini.

Tembo wants the court to determine whether or not it was lawful for President Lungu, in his official capacity, to receive a gift of land for his private use from another Head of State.

He also wants the court to interpret whether or not the Republican President in his capacity can receive a gift of land from another person without violating section 21 (b) of the Anti-Corruption Act number 3 of 2012 and Article 92 (1) of the Republican Constitution.

In his affidavit filed in the registry, Tembo stated that around May 2018, he was reliably informed that President Lungu was given land as a gift in the Kingdom of eSwatini formerly Swaziland.

He stated that President Lungu had plans to build a private mansion on the land for himself and his family.

He stated that there were official documents in eSwatini which indicate that the land in issue was one of the 90 plots owned by a company called Inyatsi Properties Limited which land it lawfully acquired from another company called Rudolph Investments Limited.

Tembo stated that it was public knowledge that Inyatsi had a sister company that was operating in Zambia called Inyatsi Construction Limited which has been awarded a number of contracts by the government of Zambia that include the Ndola-Mufulira Road and the Kafue-Chinkakata- Mazabuka Roads which are worth billions of kwacha.

He stated that the information reached public domain and brought about a rage and outcry from the citizenry who have alleged corruption and abuse of office on the part of President Lungu.

Tembo further stated that information minister Dora Siliya and President Lungu’s special assistance for press and public relations Amos Chanda informed the public that the land in issue was granted to the Head of State as a gift from King Mswati in his capacity as a citizen of Zambia and as Republican President of Zambia.

He stated that Siliya had informed the country that there was nothing wrong at law for the President to receive a gift from another Head of State as it was a practice of good international relations.

Tembo added that there had been intense public debate as to whether President Lungu abused his office when he received the land.

“In light of public interest in this matter. We the Patriots for Economic Progress, on behalf of the citizens of Zambia, seek the indulgence of this honourable court to pronounce on the legality of receiving land as a gift by the Republican President for his private use from another Head of State with regard to section 21 (b) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012 and Article 92 (1) of the Republican Constitution,” stated Tembo.

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