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State argues against PF civil case

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

THE State has accused former PF Secretary General Davies Mwila of attempting to curtail DEC’s on-going criminal investigations on money laundering involving members of the party by commencing civil proceedings in the High Court.

This is in a matter where Mr Mwila, suing in his capacity as PF Secretary General, filed a lawsuit against Government in the Lusaka High Court to stop security agencies from intimidation and illegal questioning.

Mr Mwila claimed that their members are being threatened by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) with prosecution if they do not disclose the source of campaign funds for the August 12, 2021 general elections.

The PF is claiming that Government pays it damages for intimidation and harassment of its members.

The party is also seeking damages for misrepresentation and defamation of character following allegations by DEC that the PF’s source of fund was linked to money laundering.

PF seeks a declaratory order not to compel it to disclose the source of funding for the elections.

He cited the Attorney General as respondent in the matter.

However, the Attorney General Kabesha Mulilo has filed a notice of motion to dismiss the action on a point of law.

He has raised preliminary issue on whether Mr Mwila’s action is an attempt to circumvent  DEC’s statutory authority to conduct criminal investigations relating, inter alia, to allegations of money laundering against members of the public, through the use of civil proceedings.

In an affidavit in support of the notice of motion, Mr Highton Chilela, a DEC investigations officer in the Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit stated that Mr Mwila was attempting to impugn its statutory authority to conduct criminal investigations relating, inter alia, to allegations of money laundering against members of public.

Mr Chilela stated that the former SG is in total disregard of the law and procedure by intentionally and wrongfully revealing information that relates to such investigations in the guise of civil proceedings.

“The issues that the plaintiff calls this court to determine are merely an attempt to curtail the ongoing criminal investigations, which investigations involve some PF party members, through the institution of the current civil proceedings before this honourable court,” he submitted.

Mr Chilela stated that the pleadings by the plaintiff could not be sustained and are an abuse of court process.

He therefore submitted that in the interest of justice and  public policy, DEC should carry out its ongoing criminal investigations without being curtailed by frivolous civil proceedings such as one commenced by Mr Mwila.

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