Thursday 31/05/2018

Savenda v Stanbic case



I have closely followed the case involving Stanbic Bank and Savenda Management Services.

So, when the Supreme Court upheld a Court of Appeal ruling in March 2018 that had ordered Savenda Management Services to pay Stanbic Bank US$1.36 million, I was left wondering what sort of justice we are now getting from some judges.

This is why I agree with Southern African Network Against Corruption executive director Gregory Cifire who has called for the re-opening of this case as reported by your newspaper on May 13, 2018.

To begin with, Stanbic Bank alleged that Savenda Management Services had defaulted on its loan repayment, and yet the same bank admitted that its own internal system had been at fault, thereby not capturing the payments that Savenda Management Services was making.

This was why High Court judge Justin Chashi found Stanbic Bank to have been “culpably careless” for reporting Savenda Management Services to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) without carrying out due diligence.

As a result, judge Chashi overturned the ruling of the Court of Arbitration that had ordered Savenda Management Services to pay Stanbic Bank US$1.36 million.

Instead, he ruled that the bank pay Savenda K192.5 million in damages for loss of business because of being listed on the CRB.

Stanbic Bank had admitted in writing that it was its own internal glitch that had caused a lapse in capturing the loan repayments. So one wonders why Savenda Management Services should be punished for the bank’s own failures.

But, for strange reasons, the Supreme Court judges deliberately glossed over this very important point.

Article 125 (1) of the Zambian Constitution states that “the Supreme Court is bound by its decisions, except in the interest of justice and the development of jurisprudence”.

Although the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal, it is at the same level as the Constitutional Court, which has shown the flexibility to re-open a matter that is of public interest.

So, in the interest of justice, I support Mr Cifire’s request to the Chief Justice to direct the Supreme Court to re-open the Savenda versus Stanbic Bank case as failure to do that “may not advance the interest of justice and contribute to the advancement of jurisprudence”.

Zambians are looking to the leadership of the Chief Justice to save the reputation of the Judiciary which should be a fountain of justice for all.

Saith Chabanengu


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