THE Anti-Corruption Commission has argued that Charles Loyana, a Zambian who is among the three people who have sued it over the infamous 48 houses, did not challenge the forfeiture proceedings that were instituted by the commission despite being served with the notice of intention to have the said properties forfeited to the State.
ACC adds that Loyana, in a statement dated May 16, 2018, told the commission that he owns only two properties, that is, one in Chilenje and the other in Chalala.
Meanwhile, ACC has further submitted to the Lusaka High Court that there is no record of either Uziel Bashire or Zuberi Bigawa (both Tanzianians) being granted an investment permit to enable them to invest in Zambia.
In January this year, Bashire, Bigawa and Loyana who have sued ACC over the infamous 48 houses in Lusaka’s Chalala area, made amendments to their case, seeking declaration that Loyana, a senior accountant at the Ministry of Finance, had and has the requisite power and authority by law in Zambia to purchase, possess and own property in his name for his own benefit or for the benefit of any other person.
They also want the Lusaka High Court to order that Bashire, a Tanzanian national but currently residing in Norway, has an interest in the properties bought by Loyana and was to be the ultimate beneficial owner of the properties bought, and such Loyana as purchaser of the properties should be granted possession of the said properties.
But in its amended defence filed recently, ACC submitted that the Power of Attorney between Bashire and Bigawa as well as that between Bigawa and Loyana does not state that Bashire would have interest and would in future be the beneficial owner, while upon, purchase Loyana would own and possess the properties.
It stated that on the other hand, both Powers of Attorney indicate that Bashire shall be the beneficial owner of all the real estate to be bought by Loyana, adding that it shall therefore put the plaintiffs to strict proof.
“The Power of Attorney also included the power – “To bring or defend any proceedings in respect of or affecting the said real estate to be bought by Loyana” ACC shall aver that Loyana did not challenge the forfeiture proceedings that were instituted by ACC despite being served with the Notice of Intention to have the properties forfeited to the State. Thus, the plaintiffs shall be put to strict proof,” read the defence.
ACC further stated that in a statement dated May 16, 2018 to ACC, Loyana stated that he owns only two properties, that is, one in Chilenje and the other in Chalala.
It stated that Loyana further denied having bought any property from Lombe Bwalya & Associates and also denied ever doing any business with them.
ACC submitted that it complied with the provisions of the Anti-Corruption (Disposal of Recovered Property) Regulations of 2004, in that, when the Gazette Notice was issued on August 24, 2018 and it was only duly served on the plaintiffs.
It added that the properties were then forfeited to the State by operation law exactly three months after the Gazette Notice was served in compliance with the provisions of the Anti-Corruption (Disposal of Recovered Property) Regulations of 2004.
“ACC shall aver that in an earlier statement dated May 16, 2018, Loyana was asked about the properties and about Lombe Bwalya and Associates. ACC shall also aver that Loyana in the said statement told ACC that his wife does not own any real property. Loyana also added that he only owned two properties, that is, one in Chilenje and one in Chalala. Loyana further went on to state that he has never bought any property from Lombe Bwalya and Associates and that he had no business with them,” ACC stated.
“The statement made on May 16, 2018 was later confirmed the following day by Loyana on May 17, 2018. To ACC’s surprise, in the warn and caution dated September 18, 2019, Loyana decided to change his statement and alleged that he was asked whether he knew Lombe Bwalya and Associates. Loyana then also decided to state in his warn and caution that he is the one that bought the properties from Lombe Bwalya and Associates. However, by this time, the properties had already been forfeited to the State. The plaintiffs will be put to strict proof.”
ACC further stated that it complied with the procedure of forfeiture of recovered property as stated in the Anti-Corruption (Disposal of Recovered Property) Regulations of 2004.
In their amended statement of claim, the plaintiffs had explained that in 2011, Bashire decided to invest in real estate in Zambia.
They stated that acknowledging that as a foreigner, he was not qualified to own property in his own name in Zambia, Bashire decided to partner with a Zambian, being Loyana who qualified to purchase and own land in Zambia, and that Bashire would provide funding.
“Through a Power of Attorney dated November 25, 2011, he (Bashire) appointed his cousin Bigawa and gave him power to nominate and delegate to a trusted Zambian to purchase and develop real estate properties in Zambia for which Bashire would have interest and would in future be the beneficial owner and or subsequently as an absolute owner, while upon purchase, Loyana would own and possess the properties,” read the amended claim.
Bashire, Bigawa and Loyana stated that in addition to the powers granted in the Power of Attorney, it was agreed by all the parties that Loyana would receive a commission of 5 percent for any property purchased and register and own the properties in his name or any nominees.
Bashire, Loyana and Bigawa (Bashire’s cousin), now want among others, a declaration that the Notice issued pursuant to the ACC (Disposal of Recovered Property) Regulations, 2004 directed to Loyana and certain other individuals regarding Bashire and Loyana’s properties did not fully comply with the law, is null and void ab initio, and or no longer has effect in light of the rightful owners claiming the properties.
The three who are represented by Willis Muhanga of Messrs AKM Legal Practitioners, also want declaration that the arbitrary seizure and continuation of holding on of the properties by ACC despite the claim made by the rightful owners is unlawful and illegal.
Bashire, Bigawa and Loyana further want an Order for ACC to account and pay to Bashire and or Loyana all the income received as rentals from the date of the seizure to the date of the Order and or in the alternative mesne profits.
Before making amendments to their claim, the three were initially seeking among other claims, an order that Bashire was the beneficial owner of the properties and as such he should be granted possession of the properties.