Chita Lodge Limited has dragged the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to court for allegedly seizing its property in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill on the premise that it is owned by former Zambia Air Force Commander Lt General Eric Chimese.
Chita Lodge Limited, the applicant in this matter, has also sued the Attorney General as the first respondent, saying the seizure itself is irregular, illegal, unfair and unreasonable as the said premises have never belonged to Chimese.
In an affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court, Tuesday, Chita Lodge managing director James Chungu stated that on Monday around 11:30 hours, he received a phone call from one of his employees at Subdivision Q of Farm no. 2303 in Ibex Hill, informing him that officers from DEC had presented themselves at the said property and had gained entry.
“That the said search was conducted in my absence or that of authorised officers of Chita Lodge,” read the affidavit.
Chungu stated that he was taken by surprise by the foregoing as he had been phoned by his lawyer an hour earlier, informing him that he was required at DEC Headquarters for an interview, as a consequence of which an appointment was made for February 5 at 11:00 hours.
He stated that the said interview was understood by him to be a follow-up of a previous one, which was conducted on February 1 at DEC Headquarters where he had made a statement relating to the on-going investigations in the case involving Chimese with regards to ownership of the said property.
“At the said interview, I had furnished DEC investigators with a true copy of the Certificate of Title to the said property which clearly indicated Chita Lodge Limited as the registered proprietor,” read the affidavit further.
Chungu stated that following the said entry to the property, he called the lodge’s lawyer and instructed him to proceed to the premises to establish the bonafides of the persons conducting the search.
He added that a short while later, he received a call from the lawyer informing him that the persons conducting a search on the premises had a notice of seizure dated September 5, 2018, which was endorsed by Chimese as acknowledgement of service of the said notice of seizure.
Chungu disclosed that the said notice of seizure had never been served on the lodge from the time it was issued in September last year, and that the said premises had never belonged to Chimese.
“It is true and honest belief that the issuance of the notice of seizure by the respondent and the seizure itself are irregular, illegal, procedurally inappropriate, unfair and unreasonable under the circumstances. It is my true belief that this is a matter in which leave to apply for judicial review ought to be granted against the Attorney General so that that the said decision be set aside and quashed,” read the affidavit.