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…as the five foreign nationals detained in connection with the gold scandal reject attempts that their aircraft be searched the second time three days after it was grounded and shipment seized

…as the five foreign nationals detained in connection with the gold scandal reject attempts that their aircraft be searched the second time three days after it was grounded and shipment seized


THE search and seizure of the aircraft together with its cargo by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in the raging gold scandal has been described as irregular by the five detained foreign nationals including the crew.

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And attempts by the DEC to conduct a second search on the seized aircrafts, 72 hours after the planes were grounded and had its shipment emptied and confiscated has been rebuffed.

The five foreign nationals through their attorney, Eric Silwamba, Jalasi & Linyama Legal Practitioners intend to take out the ancient Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum and are now demanding that they should be released from dentation immediately.

Michael Adel Michel Botros, Walid Rafat Fahimi Botros Abelsayed, Yasser Mokhtar Abelghafor Elshishtawy, Mounir Shaker Gerges Awad and Mohammed Abdelhak Mohammed Gouda have warned the DEC director general, Mr Nason Banda that should he fail to release them, they would have no option but to drag him to the High Court in Zambia to show cause why he (Banda) had continued to detain them without charge.

The five foreign nationals have stated that they were detained on August 13, 2023 and that were still in custody of the DEC and that on Monday, a combined team of the law enforcement agents conducted rigorous searches on their aircraft which they used to land at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA).

“The said searches lasted until the night when the DEC issued a seizure notice wherein several items were purportedly taken custody of by your officers, including cash, passports and the aircraft itself. We wish to add that our clients and the crew were denied access to counsel during this whole process contrary to the Constitution of Zambia.”

“Upon issuing the seizure notice, and gaining possession of all the items contained therein, our clients and the crew on the aircraft were detained at Chelstone Police Station without being charged,” a demand letter from the lawyers states.  

The five foreign nationals stated that their aircraft had remained in possession and control of the DEC and that they had been denied access to the plane, including the crew. They complained that on Wednesday, the DEC administered warn-and-caution statements on allegations that they  were investigating a matter of giving false information to a public officer contrary to the provisions of section 106A of the Penal Code.

“We wish to confirm that we have had occasion to review the provisions of the law and would like to state that the purported warn-and-caution statements are incompetent and irregular as the same is premised on repealed law. Clearly, the continued dentetion of our clients is now illegal as the latitude you have to detain a person without charge has lapsed,” the lawyers stated.   

They revealed that yesterday, the officers from DEC approached them demanding that they (five foreign nationals) accompany them to the aircraft for an intended search of the aircraft three days after the seizure.

They stated that the intended search which was ex post facto seizure was procedural and a complete departure of established standards of conducting searches as the vessel in question had been during the material time under the custody and control of the DEC to their exclusion.

“Clearly, this process is characterised with gross irregularity as in reality, there is no new issue arising ex post facto and the purported searches cannot be conducted retrospectively. Our clients will not participate in a process that is characterised with gross illegality and you may proceed with your searches of the aircraft which in any event you have purportedly seized. All subsequent searches conducted after the seizure will not in any way invite our clients to be held liable in any way as the responsibility of any outcome thereof solely lies on DEC,” the lawyers stated.



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