THE Patriotic Front, through its secretary general, Davies Mwila has sued the state seeking a declaration that the source of its campaign funds is not money laundering.
PF is seeking a declaratory order declaring that the party cannot be compelled to disclose its source of funds used in the 2021 general elections as well as a declaration that the funding of the 2021 general elections is not money laundering.
The party is also seeking damages for defamation as it alleges that the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) misrepresented facts when it stated that Antonio Mwanza was being interrogated on money laundering allegations when in fact he was being questioned on the party’s source of campaign funds.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Mwila, who has cited the Attorney General as defendant, explained that sometime this month, officers from the DEC anti-money laundering unit summoned him and questioned him on the source of campaign funds used in the 2021 general elections, and the officers linked the funds to money laundering.
Mwila added that the anti-money laundering unit also summoned the party’s former media director, Mwanza, who was also questioned on the party’s source of campaign funds.
He stated that DEC has continued to exert pressure on the party’s junior functionaries to disclose the source of funding for its campaign activities.
Mwila further stated that on September 22, officers under the unit summoned Teddy Mambepa, an officer of the party for interrogation and the subject of the interrogation was the source of the party’s funds used in the 2021 general elections.
“The plaintiffs will aver that the defendant has continued to threaten the existence of the plaintiff including its members and the members are being threatened with prosecution if they do not disclose the source of campaign funds,” he stated.
Mwila submitted that out of the 16 political parties which participated in the 2021 general elections, only the PF had been singled out and targeted by the DEC.
He added that the discriminatory attack on the party had instilled fear in the minds of its members.
Mwila argued that the welfare and rights of the party members and employees at the secretariat were at risk due to the intimidation, victimization and harassment being perpetrated by officers from the DEC.
Meanwhile, Mwila stated that the Commission on September 21 purportedly misrepresented the purpose of the interrogation of Mwanza to the media when it informed the nation through the press that he was being interrogated for money laundering when in actual fact he was being questioned on the source of the campaign funds used in the general elections.
“The Drug Enforcement Commission knowingly and deliberately made a false statement about the purpose of interrogating the party’s media director and the said commission knew that it was making a false statement to the public through the media and the malicious statement was actually published by several media houses,” he stated.
Mwila argued that DEC and other law enforcement agencies do not have the authority to compel the party or any other political party to disclose their source of campaign funds used in the 2021 general elections as the funds used were not money laundering.
He stated that due to the foregoing, the state contumeliously disregarded their rights, damaged the reputation of PF and continues to threaten the existence of the party and the welfare and rights of its members.
The party is therefore claiming damages for intimidating and harassing its members, damages for misrepresentation and defamation of character as well as damages for discrimination.
They also want any other relief the court may deem fit and costs of and incidental to the proceedings.