THE Lusaka High Court has declared as dead, a Zambia Army soldier who has been missing for nine years.
Lusaka High Court judge in Charge Gertrude Chawatama has ordered that by her determination of the matter, the Registrar of births and deaths after the expiration of 14 days can issue a certificate of death of staff Sergeant Ryod Lwengeshi.
In this matter, the Zambia Army had asked the Lusaka High Court to grant it leave to swear death of Lwengeshi who has been missing since November 11, 2011 so that his estate could be compensated to his family.
Zambia Army, Man Power and Personnel Administration Officer Lieutenant Colonel Elias Zulu stated that Staff Sergeant Lwengeshi was a bonafide soldier as he was attested as a soldier in the regular force of the army on December 7, 1994.
He stated that Lwengeshi was deployed in Kabwe but that on November 11, 2011 whilst on vacation leave, he went missing and had not been heard from or seen since.
Col Zulu stated that the Zambia Army and the family had made frantic efforts to find the missing soldier but all efforts proved futile.
He stated that as per procedure in the Zambia army, a board of inquiry was duly convened on December 20, 2011 to inquire into the whereabouts of Lwengeshi.
Col Zulu further stated that prior to the convening of the board of inquiry, the Zambia Police Service was informed about the missing soldier.
He added that a police report dated January 18, 2012 was issued for the purpose of investigating and declaring that Lwengeshi was missing and a
search for him proved futile.
And in her judgement delivered on November 6, 2020, judge Chawatama declared Sergeant Lwengeshi as dead.
“I hereby declare that the missing person staff Sergeant Royd Lwengeshi whose service number was G3565 is deemed to have died and since he was last seen when he went on vacation leave, that will be the effective date of his death. The declaration being conclusive proof of the missing person presumed dead is effective for all purposes and against all persons and that the effect of declaration extends to matters of property ownership and retirement benefits,” she said.
Justice Chawatama said Lwengeshi did not leave any Will, not any form of insurance and that his estate having been deemed to have retired after 24 years at the time he was presumed dead was approximately valued at K857,364.35.