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ACC SEIZES DEAD MAN’S PROPERTY

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has seized the property of a dead man, Suzyo Nyika whose remains were exhumed, forcing his widow to take legal action.

Mr Nyika is believed to be former Republican President Edgar Lungu’s close associate.

According to a petition filed in the Lusaka High Court by Lusenga Mulongoti Advocates, Ms Thelma Maunga has challenged ACC’s action to seize the property of her late husband, Mr Nyika, who cannot reasonably defend himself, thus, contravening Article 16 of the Constitution of Zambia. To Page 3

Ms Maunga contends that her husband was never cautioned for having committed any crime nor was he ever indicted for any criminal offence before any competent court.

She questioned how ACC would then seize property purporting to be proceeds of crime.

ACC, its Director General Mary Chirwa and the arresting officer Biembe Musole are cited as respondents.

Ms Maunga suing in her capacity as the administrator of her husband’s estate explains that Mr Nyika, who died on September 15, 2021, was a businessman mainly dealing in transportation, distribution and farming.

She said he conducted his business in Lundazi and Lusaka.

She said the ACC ordered for an inquest to be conducted to ascertain the cause of death and identity of the person buried at Nyika Village in Lumezi, Eastern Province.

The petitioner said this was based on the information by the respondents that her husband was believed to be alive and in   one of the neighbouring countries and in his grave was a stash of foreign cash.

She adds that before and after My Nyika’s remains were exhumed, ACC harassed her claiming that the deceased had committed unspecified crimes hence they were after his estate suspected to be proceeds of crime.

She said DNA tests were conducted on the decomposed bodies of her husband and his mother, Tryness Nyika.

Ms Maunga states that on April 8, 2022, the ACC issued a seizure notice and have continued to detain the property.

“The action by the respondents have denied your petitioner and other beneficiaries enjoyment of the use of the estate of the deceased,” she contends.

The petitioner argues that the ACC’s decision to seize and detain the property without subjecting the deceased to due process is in breach of the right to protection from deprivation of property which is Article 16 of the Constitution, Chapter 1 of the laws of Zambia.

Ms Maunga is therefore seeking that the High Court declares the conduct of the respondents illegal as well as their intention to charge her for the purported offences allegedly committed by her husband.

She seeks a declaration that the seizure and detention of the property by ACC is illegal because her husband was never subjected to a due process.

Ms Maunga also wants an order for the immediate return and restoration of seized and detained properties.

She wants ACC to pay her damages for illegal and unlawful seizure of the properties.

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