The ownership of 48 houses, estimated to cost millions of dollars, in an upmarket estate in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, has captivated the local media, along with many Zambians.

Two weeks ago the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) announced that it was investigating an official in the ministry of finance as a possible owner of the houses located in an area called Chalala.

But later ACC acting Director General Rosemary Nkonde Khuzwayo told the national broadcaster her institution had stopped investigating the matter because no-one had declared ownership of the houses.

She said the person in whose name the houses were registered had disowned them.

As a result, Ms Khuzwayo said the matter could not go to court.

Tenants occupying the flats have since been told to start paying their rent to the ACC, she added.

But then on Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo told journalists that President Edgar Lungu had issued instructions to him that the matter be investigated further and taken to court.

“The desire is to see the matter resolved in the courts of law. The ones behind the properties should be found and clear themselves in court,” said Mr Kampyongo.

Former Attorney General Musa Mwenye says the matter is the most bizarre criminal investigation in recent years.

“It is intriguing because 48 properties, if all occupied by an average family of three, translates to a community of at least 144 people who had, until recently, a landlord…it appears all those people cannot identify this mysterious owner. And an investigation has been closed conclusively, we are told,” he wondered.

“If not intrigued, I am at least curious to hear more from the Anti-Corruption Commission on how this clever individual has outsmarted our law enforcement officers in the most magical ways. For now, we give them the benefit of doubt.”