Zambia’s former First Lady Esther Lungu has been arrested over possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Ms Lungu, 66, was arrested on suspicion of fraudulently acquiring a luxurious real estate in Lusaka, the Zambian Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) said in a statement.

It said Ms Lungu owned “15 white double storey flats” situated in State Lodge area of Lusaka’s Chongwe town, “reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime”.

The exact date the property, owned jointly with other unknown people, was acquired was not clear but the DEC said it was bought between 2015 and 2023. 

The DEC also arrested her daughter Chiyeso Katete alongside another close relative identified as Charles Phiri over possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.

“Further, she was arrested for possession of 1 high-cost house, four chicken runs, and associated external works in the property,” the agency added. 

They were all released on bond after being questioned by DEC officials. 

Former President Edgar Lungu said the family would challenge the charges in court. 

The former leader has been accusing the government of victimising him and members of his Patriotic Front (PF) party to block his return to politics ahead of 2026 elections.

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