FORMER Central Province deputy Permanent Secretary Patrick Mwanawasa, who has been accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an investments officer at the Development Bank of Zambia, has denied the allegations, saying the two are merely friends.

This is a matter in which businessman Lombe Okpara, has dragged his wife, Musamba Mulenga, to the Lusaka High Court for dissolution of their eight-year marriage for allegedly engaging in adultery with Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Ronald Simwinga and Mwanawasa.

He has also cited Simwinga and Mwanawasa as first and second co-respondents in the case.

According to his petition for the dissolution of marriage, Okpara claimed that his wife admitted committing adultery with Simwinga and Mwanawasa.

He further claimed that on November 3, 2018, his wife and Mwanawasa spent time together at a short-term rented duplex apartment situated on Lukanga road in Roma township.

Okpara stated that his wife and Mwanawasa spent about five hours in the said apartment from 17:00 hours to 21:45 hours after which Mwanawasa allegedly complained of pain on his manhood following the alleged sexual encounter.

He also cited unreasonable behaviour among other reasons, claiming that his wife arranged and hosted a party for Simwinga at her sister’s house and convinced him that it was a kind gesture to appreciate Simwinga for the favours that he did for her family.

But in a reply to the petition, Mwanawasa, a second co-respondent denied Okpara’s allegations, saying Mulenga was a mere friend whom he had the privilege of discussing business by virtue of their employment.

He added that at no time did he rent an apartment as alleged by Okpara in the petition and further stated that Okpara’s allegations were malicious and not tantamount to adultery which was the main issue in the petition.

Mwanawasa stated that at no time did he discuss issues of money laundering with the respondent, adding that Okpara was fishing for evidence as contained in his petition.

He urged the court not to award Okpara damages and costs as it would amount to unfair and unjust entrenchment.

Mwanawasa said Mulenga was an adult and no one would take peculiar advantage of her as a married woman.