CHITA Lodge Limited managing director James Chungu has submitted before the Lusaka High Court that the preliminary issues in which the State wants the court to dismiss his application for leave to challenge the seizure of his properties in Ibex Hill is an abuse of court process implored to throttle his right to be heard.
Chungu has stated that the preliminary issues by the State were a device to waste the court’s time and to delay proceedings.
On February 5, Chita Lodge Limited sued the Attorney General and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and was seeking leave to commence judicial review proceedings against the government’s decision to his property in
Lusaka’s Ibex Hill on the premise that it was owned by former Zambia Air Force Commander Lt General Eric Chimese.
Chungu has argued that the properties were never owned by Lt Gen Chimese.
Chita Lodge Limited has argued that the seizure of the property was irregular, illegal, unfair and unreasonable as the said premises have never belonged to Lt Gen Chimese.
But the State last week raised a preliminary issue, asking the court not to grant Chungu leave to commence judicial review proceedings against the Attorney General, arguing that it was out of time and that the matter was subject to criminal proceedings set for March 11, 2019 at the Subordinate Court.
In opposing the State, Chungu stated that the circumstances prevailing warrant leave being granted.
He explained that DEC despite issuing the notice of seizure on September 5, 2018 failed to serve the applicant the notice of seizure. Chungu stated that he only became aware of the said notice of seizure on February 4, 2019 and promptly filed the proceedings the following day on February 5.
He stated that the State could not use their act of bad faith to deprive him the right to be heard on the technicality of the expiry of time.
Chungu added that there was no law that prohibits a criminal matter to run concurrently with a civil matter.