Saturday, July 20, 2024

Did Edgar Lungu defraud the Zambian Government?

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By Michael Chishala

Former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu recently announced his return into active politics, to the surprise of no one. According to information in the public domain, it strongly suggests that he resigned as PF President in August 2021 and he then wrote to Cabinet Office informing them he was no longer party President and therefore entitled to his benefits as per Benefits of Former Presidents (Amendment) Act of 1998.

Cabinet Office obliged and have been paying him taxpayer money for his benefits as a former president, presumably because they did their due diligence and were satisfied that he was no longer in active politics. The Act states in Section 5(1) as follows:

5(1) The pension and other benefits conferred by this Act shall not be paid, assigned or provided to a former President who is—

(a) in receipt of a salary from the Government; or
(b) engaged in active politics

“Active politics” is defined in the Act to mean either “the doing of any act indicating a person’s intention to hold elective or appointive office” or “the holding of elective or appointive office” in a political party or in an organization whose main aim is the furtherance of political objectives.

All this raises a number of pertinent issues. Mr Lungu on 28th October 2023 declared out of his own mouth the following as quoted by News Diggers:

“I have decided to return to active politics and continue as president of PF…. I am back to active politics as PF president elected in 2021 with a mandate up to 2026. The PF will hold a general conference at the right time to choose a leader before the next elections in 2026. After this conference, I will hand over to whoever will be elected to lead the PF in the 2026 general elections.”

He was thus clearly admitting that he has been the PF president all along since 2021, hence the use of the word “continue” and referencing his “mandate” up to 2026. Three big issues immediately arise:

1. If Mr Lungu is still PF president from his election in 2021 by his own public admission, does it mean he is guilty of obtaining money under false pretences which is an offence under Zambian law? Why would he claim his benefits from the government if he was still PF president at the time? Does it mean he deliberately misled the government of Zambia that he was no longer in active politics (as defined by the Act) when in fact, he was?

2. Mr Lungu receiving his generous benefits on the basis of a misleading letter he wrote to Cabinet Office suggests he uttered a false document to the government of Zambia. The law frowns upon such, and he may be liable to being prosecuted for this.

3. If Mr Lungu is still the PF president and this was already known to Cabinet Office, why have they been spending hundreds of thousands of Kwacha on him, including spending possibly millions to build him a retirement home?

Mr Lungu might be at risk of being dragged to court for fraud, obtaining money under false pretences and uttering a false document to the government. Provided he did in fact resign as PF President and there is documentary proof of this, he will have to answer some very difficult questions on the witness stand to square his latest public statements with the letters on file.

If he ends up in court and faced with fines and possible jail time he retreats to the previous default position of retirement, his zombie party dies even faster. And it means his foot soldiers have to go fight Mr Miles Sampa without him and that fight will be very ugly and protracted with no prisoners taken.


Michael Chishala is a Zambian analyst, blogger, and ICT Specialist. He has interests in Philosophy, Economics, Politics and Art. Email: michael [at] zambia [dot] co [dot] zm.

REFERENCES
1.Lusaka Times

Is former President Edgar Lungu engaged in “active politics”?

2.Zambia Daily Mail

Lungu’s resignation not yet in effect – Chilangwa

3.News Diggers

I won’t allow PF to die, vows Lungu as he announces political comeback

41 COMMENTS

  1. I differed with some guy at City Market, only to tell me ati you will finish like PF, is that the way we will be talking.

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    • You Can’t cheat the same people all the time. Let’s make sure we recover the money Lungu collected through his fraudulent retirement for cleaning UTH. Chilufya Tayali can you spearhead the campaign to bring sanity to UTH. It’s long overdue, most of the challenges there just need leadership.
      Watch “Edgar Lungu is still the president of PF.Miles Sampa is just playing around.–Chilufya Tayali.” on YouTube

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  2. ECL is so dull it’s amazing that this guy is even a lawyer. Like Zuma this guy is going to finally end up in jail

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  3. When you resign from government there’s a grace period of 3 months given to you in case you consider rescinding the decision. In that 3 months you will be kept on payroll regardless.
    So to answer your question sir the ijiot. No! ECL did not defraud the GRZ or your pamunyoko friends. If anything government’s expenditure is relieved.

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  4. Michael Chishala may have a point here. Let’s see how Edgar Lungu’s sympathisers will defend him. I disagree with the writer’s characterisation of ECL’s letter to government to announce his retirement from active politics as uttering a false document. It’s not a false document because it was sent to government under Lungu’s hand. The correct offence is probably obtaining money by false pretence. Legal experts will of course have the last word.

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    • The guy retired formally as president of the party, but never as a party member by tendering the letter to CO. There are no False Documents, Fraud or False Pretend here. He has come back from that retirement and government should be notified to that effect as before. All the moneys he received were for purposes of retirement. GRZ can just withdraw the allotment from when he rescinded the decision. Has he not already given back the government house?

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    • Not only is he guilty of fraud, but he will be taken to court and barred from running because he has already been sworn as president 2x. HH is going to make sure this beaver is finished as a politicians

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  5. He has not defrauded anybody. The problem is that we want to impose retirement on him. We have other civil servants and constitutional office holders who have retired before. Has anyone forfeited the package? If the government wants to take the ‘Crumbs’ from him let’s go on. But he will retire whenever he convinces himself so.

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  6. Just like the ministers who continued in office illegally after dissolution of parliament perpetuated by PF then were made to pay back so shall ediga be made to pay back.

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    • He received the retirement package because he retired. He did not steal that money or was he wrongly given. When he resurfaced, he must lose that privilege. 3 past presidents in Zambia have done this before (Kay Kay, Titus and Alabee). ECL is the fourth one.

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  7. People have no food in their homes. Whatever you say about Lungu, people still managed to feed their families enough unlike our muzungu loving gay puppet. To judge Lungu against HH, you just need to go to a shop and look at the price tag. Your also need to go to Kitwe and and ask how people are surviving. Insala, privatization, tribalism, victimazation of other tribe and love for foreigners is what has brought Lungu back. If HH delivered on the following he promised, fuel at k5, fertilizer at k50 we would not be talking about Lungu today. Point at one infrastructure HH has built today. Only toilets and overcrowded dirty schools for the much celebrated CDF and free education. I would pay school fees for quality education than expose my kids to diseases and poor education.

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    • @ kci You are a dimwit ..
      Where is fuel procured???
      Even here in Europe the price of a pump is equivalent to K42 per litre .. Wake up from slumber and grow more food, the price of unga will fall automatically. Or have your head checked before it is TOO LATE.

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    • Where are you going to get cheap fuel? Have you seen the fuel prices in country around the world? Ukusabaila. Come here and see how much you will pay for fuel

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    • The price of fuel in Botswana has gone up twice in the last month. I have not heard the opposition crying about increasing fuel prices. They know that Botswana does not produce crude oil.
      Elo please Zambians change your eating habits. You can get starch from Rice, Potatoes, Cassava, Millet, Sorghum, Wheat, spaghetti, and macaroni.

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    • #Kanjimano… people complain about fuel prices not because it’s expensive but because the president never accepted that fuel prices are influenced by international factors and that if elected he would reduce it to a third of the then price. Further we all know that Zambia doesn’t produce oil but the president didn’t acknowledge this fact. That’s where the problem is.

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  8. The law allows for a former leader to resign from active politics and draw benefits and also to return to politics. Our father ecl has done just that. He has left the house and is not fighting to continue to receive government benefits. Where is the problem? You are just threatened little boys. 2026 he is standing. Baficarla!!!

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  9. The law allows for a former leader to resign from active politics and draw benefits and also to return to politics. Our father ecl has done just that. He has left the house and is not fighting to continue to receive government benefits. Where is the problem? You are just threatened little boys. 2026 he is standing. Baficarla!!! X

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    • The problem is that while he was drawing his benefits, he was still PF president. Has that little detail escaped you wiseguy?

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    • If upnd government is so broke that they are desperate for ecl to return what was entitled to him, let us know how much. We will pay it all back. You think between all of us we can fail to pay back crumbs?

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    • KZ you seem to be having great difficulty comprehending the facts. You cannot be the president of the biggest opposition political party while getting former president benefits at the same time. Whether you can pay back or not makes no difference.

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  10. Tyical of PF crookedness – twisting the narrative each time they are caught pants down.The question the Author is asking is if Lungu retired from Politics then he cannot say he was still active under PF party Presiidency to the extent that, he can simply stand up any time and say the Party Constitution says I was suposed to handover at a General covention therfore am still the President but am not active at national level. This is mentality of a corrupt person.

  11. kkkkk zambians cultivate the culture of reading and understanding of matters or issues. you sure ECL has defrauded the zambian govt? is that what the law says, if so which law. kkkkk. Firstly ECL is eligible to stand because it is his constitutional right. So stop wasting time talking about ECL but concetrate on reducing the cost of living which extremely high.ECL is back and what is next for our country.

    • Now this is what I call dullness. You don’t read the article but you come here showing your ignorance. Ati which law? Read the article you dimwit!

  12. Kindly let us avoid insulting other tribes even if we differ in opinion, we are all Zambians and children of God, politics is nothing and it will not bring food on the table.

    Let us concentrate much on entrepreneurship that is the other solutions available to improve our ailing economy not insults.

  13. Yes he did defraud current Government and many other citizens including President Sata by refusing him to be on drip in Yisrael instead chose to fly to London and the wife sent to India, mid air to London, we received sad news. Zambia Police chito yaoneka.

  14. Wene Ediga wanajaila kuli activity that KBF calls Lawfare. He has mastered the art so well that I fear he is ignoring the blind spots that will soon land him in a difficult ditch. Uyu mufana shuwa!! Meanwhile uyu mufana Sampa is still playing the tournament. Watch him closely bane. Watch him…

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