LAZ president Eddie Mwitwa says the law association is studying the revelation that President Edgar Lungu received land from his eSwatini counterpart king Mswati as a gift.
In response to a press query, Mwitwa said the expose’ raised so many questions which the association would like to examine before issuing a statement.
“I must first start by saying ‘thank you for the query. At least we have a basis for saying something about it. Sometimes we may not want to come out because we don’t just want to latch on something or on things that may not be of public interest or concern us. But it’s such a serious issue and we are looking into it. It’s that important that we don’t want to rush into giving a position. But we are studying the matter,” said Mwitwa.
Individual lawyers, including opposition NAREP leader Elias Chipimo, have come out to reprimand the Head of State for receiving a gift that exceeds the value of US$1,000.
“We have all learned with dismay that the President has been allocated land in Swaziland by King Mswati. I want to make something very clear. Our laws here in Zambia forbids such gifts being accepted when they are acquired as a result of the official position that the individual who has been given the gift holds. Just check Section 21 of the Anti-Corruption Act. You can also obtain a copy of cabinet office circulars which make it very clear that I believe that gifts in excess of a thousand Dollars must be declared. This is government policy,” said Chipimo.
But Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya and State House Press aide Amos Chanda insist that President Lungu received the land gift in his private capacity as a citizen of Zambia, and as such, he broke no law.
“It is very normal practice. We, ourselves as Zambia have given a piece of land to the King of Saudi Arabia, it is very normal practice that any government or any King can decide what they think is the gift befitting of a visiting high-level dignitary. And in this country there is no law that provides that he has to declare a gift given to him,” said Siliya.
“There is no impropriety, whatsoever, in the said transaction involving a gift of a piece of land to His Excellency, the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu; there is no impropriety, whatsoever. The matter is purely a private exchange between the two Heads of State,” said Chanda.