Court News

Missing soldier declared dead

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
THE Lusaka High Court has declared dead a Zambia Army soldier who went missing nine years ago.
Judge Gertrude Chawatama has ordered that by her determination of the matter, the Registrar of births and deaths after the expiration of 14 days could issue a certificate of death of Staff Sergeant Ryod Lwengeshi.
The State had asked the Lusaka High Court to declare S/G Lwengeshi dead who went missing on November 11, 2011 while on vacation. He was aged 39.
Lieutenant-Colonel Elias Zulu, the Manpower and Personnel Administration Officer in the Zambia Army and responsible for Manpower in the Regular Force of the Zambia Army wanted the court to grant the army permission to swear death of S/G Lwengeshi so that his estate could be compensated to his family.
Lt-Col. Zulu said the deceased was a bonafide soldier as he was attested as a soldier in the regular force of the Zambia Army on December 7, 1994 .
He said the estate of S/G Lwengeshi having been deemed to have retired after 24 years at the time he was presumed dead is approximately valued at K857, 364.35.
He stated that the law presumes a person to have died if their whereabouts are unknown for a period of seven years or more, therefore it is a fit and proper case in which the court can exercise its discretion and grant the order sought.
Ms Justice Chawatama said that it was in view of the foregoing that it was a fit and proper case in which her court could exercise it’s discretion and grant the order sought as it would not prejudice any person but in the converse, the ends of justice would be met as it would give closure to the family of the deceased.

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