Lusaka ~ Wed, 23 Sept 2020
By ZR Reporter
Zambia Army Man Power and Personnel Administration Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Elias Zulu, in his affidavit filed in court, stated that Staff Sergeant Royd Lwengeshi was a bonafide soldier as he was attested as a soldier in the regular force of the Zambia Army on December 7, 1994.
He stated that Lwengeshi was deployed in Kabwe but that he went missing on
November 11, 2011 whilst on vacation leave.
Lt Col Zulu stated since the law presumes a person to have died if their whereabouts are unknown for a period of seven years or more, he was seeking leave of court to declare Lwengeshi dead so that his spouse, children, parents and dependants can claim his benefits which is approximately K857,364.35.
“He has not been heard from or seen since November 2011 by his spouse, children and parents have tried all means to look for him but all efforts have proved futile,” Lt Col Zulu stated.
Lt Col Zulu stated that the Zambia Army made frantic efforts to find the missing soldier but all efforts proved futile.
He stated that as per procedure in the Zambia Army, a board of inquiry was duly convened on December 20, 2011 to inquire into the whereabouts of Lwengeshi.
He stated that prior to the convening of the board of inquiry, Zambia Police Service was informed about the missing soldier and that a police report dated January 18, 2012 was issued for the purpose of investigating and declaring that Lwengeshi was missing.
Lt Col Zulu stated further that another board of inquiry was convened on May 5, 2020 to declare Lwengeshi dead but upon taking the said board of inquiries proceedings and other documents, Public Service Pensions Fund Board declined to compensate the estate of
Lwengeshi on account of failure to produce an order swearing and declaring his death.
“That staff sergeant Lwengeshi Royd was thirty nine (39) years old when he went missing on the November 11, 2011.The Zambia Army or his relatives would have heard from him had he been alive,” he stated.
Lt Col Zulu stated that from his personal file, Lwengeshi did not leave any Will nor any form of insurance.
He stated that Lwengeshi had a bank account and the November 2011 salary was remitted into the said account but his wife had no access to it.
“It is in this view of the foregoing that this is a fit and proper case in which this Honorable Court can exercise its discretion and grant the order sought herein,” Lt Col Zulu stated.
He stated that the granting of the order, declaring Lwengeshi dead would not prejudice any person but in the converse of such order, the ends of justice would be met as it would give closure to the family of Lwengeshi and the Zambia Army.