The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says it is of the considered view that if indeed the land given to President Edgar Lungu by the Kingdom of eSwatini was a gift then this does not constitute a breach of Section 21(1) (b) of Anti Corruption Act.
The association says it has concluded legal research on the matter with the view to assisting the public on the interpretation of the relevant law in this matter.
In a statement to media yesterday yesterday, LAZ says it has followed with keen interest the public debate that has raged following revelation of the piece of land granted to President Lungu in the Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland.
The statement states that in the absence of evidence that the receipt of the gift was preceded by some “abuse” of position or authority on the President’s part.
The association says to constitute a breach, and assuming the President is a public officer for the purposes of the Anti Corruption Act, one would thus have to prove the corrupt element in the act and whether by having accepted the gift, the acceptance was unreasonable or prejudicial to the rights and interests of the government or the nation.
The Law Association of Zambia insists that it is clear that there was no public disclosure by President Lungu of this gift prior to its discovery so much as to warrant questions around the purposes for its grant in the first place.
LAZ further states that consequently, as the gift has been received, it would be befitting of the President as a Head of State to relinquish the gift though received in his personal capacity to the nation or the Zambia Embassy in eSwatini.
The association is further of the considered view that there is need for a specific legislation or strengthen existing legislation on this issue of gifts to the office of the president and indeed all public officers has become pertinent in the country.
The Law Association of Zambia has since called on the Zambia Law Development Commission charged with mandate of law reform to lead the law reform in this area in conjunction with all stakeholders adding that the association pledges to lend its hand to such a law reform.