Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

15 February 2013

Zambia: Former First Lady Asks Court to Unfreeze Property

Former first lady Thandiwe Banda has filed an application in the Lusaka High Court seeking to reverse the restriction order on Mpundu Trust Limited by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

Thandiwe is further seeking the State to vary the restriction order issued on the Mphundu Trust apartments. The motion comes at the same time that police and security agencies attempted to the property today, according to a report published by Zambian Watchdog.

The Anti-Corruption Commission obtained a restriction order on the property on grounds that there were alleged corrupt activities involving Mphundu Trust Limited on January 4, 2012. However, for more than a year lawyers have complained that the state has not advanced its case or defined what exactly was the nature of the investigation.

Last year the joint government investigative wings interviewed the former first lady who is a director at Mphundu Trust Limited.

Today state investigative officers attempted to search the property but did not succeed as they did not have a search warrant, a source told Zambian Reports.

And a sources within the ACC say the matter was still under investigations and that it was not possible for the High Court to cancel the restriction order.

The source said Mpundu Trust would be one of the properties that would be used as evidence when former President Rupiah Banda and family members served in his government would face abuse of office charges.

"There are conflicting statements in this case and there is money that was found in an account Thandiwe had access to which has not been explained properly," the source said.

Thandiwe in her application complained that she does not have any other property apart from Mpundu Trust in Lusaka and that the restriction notice was scaring away possible tenants and put the whole project into jeopardy.

"I reasonably believe that no investigations are being conducted and the issuance of the restriction notice is an act of harassment and amounts to abuse of authority by the respondent," Thandiwe stated. "I humbly beseech this honourable court to order the reversal of the restriction notice as no valid reason exists for the same."

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