Xavier Chungu not entitled to claims – State

THE state says Xaviour Chungu cannot be indemnified over his detention in 2002 on corruption related charges and theft of public funds and assets, including the seizure of his property acquired using the the same funds, because the due process of the law was followed.

The Attorney General’s chambers has also hinted of the state’s decision to give Chungu other pieces of land in recompense for the three plots that were grabbed from him.

This is in a matter where Chungu, a former Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS) Director general, has sued the state in the Lusaka High Court demanding payment of US$500,000 as compensation for his illegal detention.

Chungu wants an order that the state pays him US$150,000 seized from his account at Access Financial Services and an order for the payment of US$37,050 for lost rentals.

He is further seeking interest on all sums payable at Bank of Zambia lending rate from August 2009 to date of full and final settlement, any other reliefs the court may deem fit and costs of the action.

Chungu was facing several charges of theft of public funds and assets and abuse of authority among other charges before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court in 2002.

In other charges, Chungu was jointly charged with Frederick Chiluba for theft of public funds. He was also convicted for nine months for forgery and uttering a false document.

In his statement of claim, Chungu said that on January 7, 2002 and various other dates between 2002 and August 15, 2009, he was put under house arrest and also remanded in prison for a cumulative period of 34 months on allegations of theft of unspecified motor vehicles and theft by public servant.

He stated that each time he was detained by the taskforce on corruption and the case was taken to court, the state would enter a nolle prosequi and the process of arrest, charge would start afresh.

Chungu contended that he kept appearing for mention only without taking plea for three years.

The ex-chief intelligence officer said despite him not being prosecuted successfully or at all earnest, the state seized his property by way of forfeiture and forfeited his houses F/488a/27/D/2 Leopards Hill Lusaka, F/377a/1/E/1 Kabulonga road Lusaka, F/488a/8/B/2 Whitewood Lane, Kabulonga, LUS/208/M, lot 10752/M and LUS/20863.

Chungu stated that the state also seized his account at Access Financial Services Limited which had a cash balance of US$150,000 which was money raised from rentals at house no.488a/8/B/2 Whitewood Lane, Kabulonga.

“At the time of forfeiture of the said house, there was 13 months remaining on the lease period at the monthly rental of US$2,850, bringing the total of the lost rentals to US$37,050,” Chungu said.

But in its defense, the state said the plaintiff was arrested for various alleged offenses relating to corruption and the due court process was followed.

It said his houses were legally seized and forfeited to the state after following all legal procedures and evidence would be adduced at trial.

“For items LUS/208/M, lot 10752/M and LUS/20863, the defendant undertakes to engage the plaintiff for alternative pieces of land,” the state proposed.

It denies seizing his account at Access Financial Services limited with a cash balance of US$150,000 rentals from his house in Kabulonga with 13 months remaining on the lease period at the monthly rental of US$2,850 and that he would be put to strict proof.

The state refuted assertions by Chungu that he was denied freedom for a cumulative period of 34 months, his right to property was violated by way of forfeiture without due process, loss of mesne profits and that he suffered stress and mental torture.

“The plaintiff is not entitled to any of the claims with the exception to items LUS/208/M, lot 10752/M and LUS/20863,” said the state.

“Save for express admissions made herein, the defendant denies each and every allegation of fact in the plaintiff’s statement of claim as if the same has been specifically set out and traversed seriatim.”

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