HIGH COURT DISMISS CHUNGU’S PETITION
By OLIVER SAMBOKO
THE Lusaka High Court has dismissed with cost the case in which Max Chungu had petitioned the court to refer to the Constitutional Court for interpretation of the matter in which the Drug Enforcement Commission(DEC) seized his vehicles and banks accounts.
Chungu had on March 31, 2022, initiated a joint petition in which he alleged that DEC had violated his fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined under the Constitution and prayed that DEC release his motor vehicle and bank accounts because they were no reasonable ground to seize them. He wanted the Constitutional Court to determine whether the DEC had not breached his constitutional rights by confiscating his motor vehicles and seized his bank accounts.
Chungu also challenged the setup of the Economic and Financial Crimes Court.
He had further prayed that the high refer the question to the constitutional court on whether the Economic and Financial crimes court and it’s setup is in line with Article 8 of the Constitution of Zambia and whether the same court which is specifically targeted at a class of citizens , does not violet the principal of equality before the law.
Chung said since the seizure of his accounts by DEC, he has not been informed of the reasons for the seizure.
He also prayed that the court order DEC to pay him K1, 000 per vehicle per day up to the day of release.
But in the ruling by the high court, the court said the Economic and Financial Crimes Court has powers to prosecute any criminal matter because it is a division of the High court and enjoys unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as conferred by Article 134 of the constitution.
“We therefore have not found merit in the petitioner’s suggestion that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine their petition,”
The court also concluded that it did not found any constitutional issue to refer to the constitutional court because the petition lacks merit.
“Based on the foregoing, we have not found any constitutional issue to refer to the constitutional court and accordingly dismissed with costs to be taxed in default of agreement,” read the ruling.
Chungu was represented in the matter by J Zulu of Makebi Zulu and partners.