THE ruling Patriotic Front has refused to receive the judgment in default entered against it in the Lusaka High Court this month.
This is in a case where the Lusaka Voice Newspaper last November sued the PF, through its secretary general Davies Mwila, demanding K384,000 for services rendered in the 2015 presidential election campaigns.
On January 14, 2020, the court entered a judgment in default of appearance and defence in favour of the Lusaka Voice Newspaper.
When defence lawyer Ken Phiri from M. Associates went to serve the judgment at the PF secretariat in Lusaka on Thursday, officers available refused to receive it, claiming that it could only be received by Mwila.
When contacted by The Mast, Phiri confirmed the turn of events.
“Yes, the secretariat refused to accept the documents, stating that only the Secretary General can receive these court documents. At this point we will try one more time to serve them these documents,” said Phiri. “If it’s unsuccessful, we are going to get a court order and then execute the judgment because we would have attempted to serve, they would have refused to be served and taken notice of the same. And we shall execute according to the law, rather than serving by substitution.’’
According to a statement of claim filed last year in the Lusaka High Court by defence lawyers from M Associates, the newspaper further demanded interest of over K32 million.
“By an oral agreement made between the plaintiff and the defendant between November 2014, the defendant contracted the services of the plaintiff to draft, design, print and publish advertorials and adverts in support of and to market the candidature of its president Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu during the election campaigns leading up [to the] presidential by-election campaigns slated for 15th January 2015 following the demise of president Michael Chilufya Sata (MHRSP) who died at King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom on 28th October, 2014,” the statement read in part.
“The plaintiff claims against the defendant for: 1. Payment of the invoiced amount to the tune of K384,000.00 for the services rendered by the plaintiff to the defendant at the defendant’s instance by drafting, designing printing and publishing advertorials in its publication in support of and to market the candidature of its president Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu during the election campaigns leading up [to the] presidential by-election campaigns slated for 18th January, 2015; 2. Damages for breach of the said Oral Agreement amounting K32,794,063.44 as prayed.”
The statement stated that the newspaper closed in March 2015 due to failure by PF to pay the money, further resulting in the breakdown of its printing press.