Zambia's former first lady and daughter arrested over properties worth more than $2 million

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — Zambia's former first lady and one of her daughters have been arrested over their ownership of several properties worth more than $2 million that a law enforcement agency says are suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Esther Lungu, the wife of former Zambian President Edgar Lungu, daughter Chiyeso Katete and a family friend were arrested on Thursday, said the Drug Enforcement Commission, a law enforcement agency which also has a mandate to investigate money laundering allegations.

The properties owned by Esther Lungu that are under investigation include 15 apartments worth $1.5 million in a district near the capital, Lusaka, the DEC said in a statement. It said she couldn’t give a reasonable explanation for how she acquired the properties.

Katete and family friend Charles Phiri were accused of having properties worth more than $570,000 that were proceeds of crime. The DEC said another daughter of Edgar and Esther Lungu was facing related charges and was ordered to hand herself in to authorities by Monday.

Edgar Lungu was Zambia's leader from 2015 to 2021, when he lost an election to current President Hakainde Hichilema, a longtime political rival. He has embarked on a political comeback and is aiming to stand against Hichilema in the southern African country's 2026 presidential election.


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