FORMER PF cadre Maxwell Chongu has sued the State in the Lusaka High Court, seeking an order for the release of motor vehicles, bank accounts and a company belonging to him.
In August last year, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) seized four motor vehicles belonging to Chongu.
DEC Public Relations Officer Mathias Kamanga said among the vehicles seized included an unregistered Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Hilux, a Mark X with registration number BBA 4238 and a Small Truck with registration number BAG 4331.
Chongu and Greenside Suppliers and Investment limited now want the court to order that the vehicles should be released, on grounds that there were no facts or reasonable grounds upon which reasonable suspicion could be or could have been formed of them having acquired the property from money laundering or proceeds of illegality, as provided for under Section 15 of the Prohibition and Prevention of money laundering Act no. 14 of 2001.
Chongu and Greenside Suppliers and Investment limited have cited the Attorney General as the respondent, further seeking an order for compensation (in money terms) for the unlawful arbitrary seizure of their property subject to the seizure notice and for the unlawful destruction and damage to their goods if any.
They further want the court to order for compensation in money terms for the deliberate, willful conduct of the State law enforcement agencies aimed at tarnishing their reputation and also compensation for the idle time the vehicles have been kept by the State at the rate of K1,000 per vehicle per day, up to the date of release of the said vehicles.
Chongu stated that Greenside Suppliers and Investment limited company was incorporated in Zambia and holder of bank accounts No.5597953500226 Kwacha account and 5597953500327 USD account, held at Zanaco Twin Palm Mall branch, Lusaka.
He stated that DEC proceeded to raid his residence in his absence and without any reasonable justification and without an order of the court.
Chongu stated that he was a businessman and that the seizure of the motor vehicles had led to loss of business.
He stated that following a successful bid, on or before June 4, 2020, Greenside Suppliers was awarded a contract by the Ministry of Health for the supply and delivery of personal protective commodities (3 ply disposable surgical face masks) to support response towards COVID-19, under contract No. MoH/SP/covid -19/002/20-106, with the contractual sum being K3,900,000.
Chongu stated that sometime in September 2020, Greenside Suppliers was awarded another contract by the Ministry of Health for the supply and delivery of KN-95 face masks to support the response towards COVID-19 under contract No. MOH/SP/Covid-19/002/20-174, at a total sum of K5,000,000.
He stated that Greenside Suppliers discovered on December 15, 2021, that the said bank accounts were subject to seizure notices from the DEC.
Chongu argued that the action by DEC to seize the account for Greenside Suppliers was done without any reasonable justification and without an order of the court.
He stated that DEC has told his lawyers that the seized motor vehicles were currently part of ongoing investigations, lamenting that he had continued to suffer loss of business as a result of DEC’s actions of seizing the said motor vehicles.