Thursday, May 30, 2024

Zim tycoon wins 24-year legal battle against the Bank of Zambia, set to get US$139 million refund


HIGH Court of Zambia has ordered the country’s central bank to pay back US$139M to Jayesh Shah. The High Court of Zambia has ordered the Bank of Zambia to pay back US$139, 191, 386 seized in 1998 to Zimbabwean business tycoon, Jayesh Shah, and his company Al Shams Building Materials Limited.

The judgement follows a protracted legal dispute stretching over the past 24 years.

Justice Edward Musona sitting at the High Court Thursday found the bank at fault, bringing an end to the long-running dispute.

“This is proper particularly since the history of litigation, in this case, dates back to 1998. It is 24 years old in the courts. The Bank of Zambia has unduly and unjustly perpetuated this case,” said the judge in delivering his ruling.

He added, “This dispute has been in a back and forth movement, from High Court to Supreme Court.

“This is sad. Litigation must have an end. 24 years in court is too long. Bank of Zambia has abused its immunity against execution. This should end because it is not good governance.

“Now, therefore, I order that leave to appeal is granted but subject to a deposit by the Bank of Zambia into the court of 30% of the judgment sum being US$139, 191, 386 within the period during which an appeal may be lodged. Parties may proceed to uplift this judgment,” ruled Musona.

Shah has vast business interests in Zimbabwe, Zambia and India, among other countries.

The background

On January 16, 1998, Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) informed Al Shams Building Materials Limited’s bankers – First Merchant Bank Zambia Limited – and the Attorney General that it had seized the firm’s accounts with over US$1 million pending investigations.

According to court papers, just months later, the bank was placed under receivership and on March 16, 1999, the Bank of Zambia ordered its liquidation.

Al Shams Building Materials Limited and Shah instituted legal proceedings in the Zambia High Court, which on October 12, 1999 ruled that the money should be returned to the owners since the seizure was unlawful and illegal.

The court ruled that in the case of First Merchant Bank failing to reimburse Shah and his company, the Bank of Zambia was held liable and, in the alternative, the Attorney General was ordered to pay if the funds could not be found.


  1. I can see this scenario repeating itself…. because the so called investigative agencies are just being sent at targeted individuals without proper method. These guys could have stolen but once you combine the investigation with vengeance, you lose focus and the target takes advantage.

    • Now BOZ should sure Judge Musona in personal capacity.
      Something with Musona too. Case was just $1 million, so why award $140 million. PF inflated figure. It is very true, judges still believe that PF is ruling.
      I believe business owner Jay will only accept his $1 million, he won’t participate in that grand theft.

    • You are right former President the Late Chiluba in 1998 unleashed the DEC on our clints and grabbed everything. The 12th October, 1999 Judgment categorically states our Clients Constitutional rights have been violated besides declaring the DEC 1998 Seizure a UNLAWFUL

    • In such cases the Judge has to look at loss-of-earnings in the last 24 yrs, loss of compound-investment, psychological damage, compensation and many more things as he is a business man. If a person invested $1m in 1998 in any good performing company, today that $1m will be worth hundreds of dollars. If let say he invested in Apple which was at $0.30 in 1998. Today they are at $151. This guy would be worth $530m. And if you add dividends paid to shareholders, you would add at least $10m to $15 million over 24yrs period. So pay him and he be a crook. GRZ failed to find him at fault.

    • The value of land just around Lusaka has gone up by 970% in places like Meanwood / Ibex Hill & Makeni in the last 24yrs, if he had invested $1m buying hundreds of acres, and sold them today, he would be in big $ Dosh.

  2. Hhs friends are now getting favourable court outcomes at the expense of poor Zambians. It is us the tax payers who will have to foot the bill of these foreign criminal friends of hh

    • It is indeed very SAD that you cannot see its Bank of Zambia who refused to abide by Court Judgments is solely responsible for the escalating Judgment Debt.

  3. 25 years? This is not justified no is it justice.
    However, I am confused with the reporting here, the amount of money in contention was over 2 million in 1998 when the bank was liquidated.
    The judgment sum, however, is 139 million?
    How? Surely, that cannot be interest. What was the original sum? And did the plaintiff win his case in the original court proceedings?

    • My client has not lost a single application from 1999 to 2014 and HOLDS – 6 High Court Orders in his favor and 5 Supreme Court Judgments all in their favor.
      Bank of Zambia have not won a single application?
      Please ask yourself why ? Only because Bank of Zambia are wrong and are still refusing to accept what the Court has told them not once, twice, thrice but eleven times.

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