AFRICAN Life Financial Services Limited director Munakupya Hantuba says the question of whether or not the utterances made by FDD leader Edith Nawakwi are contemptuous is a subject to be determined by the court.
Hantuba says the complaint before court contains sufficient details of what Nawakwi uttered and caused to be circulated in public media.
This is in a matter where Dickson Mtonga and 22 other security guards sued African Life Financial Service Limited in 2014 demanding US $300,000 and terminal benefits owed to them following their transfer.
African Life Financial Services Limited asked the court to commit Nawakwi to prison for misrepresenting facts when she alleged that it was liable to pay its former employees $300,000 when the matter is still active before court
It said Nawakwi’s utterances during a press briefing were calculated at prejudicing the general public against it.
African Life Financial Services stated that the alleged contemnor’s conduct was intended to deliberately misrepresent the facts surrounding the case to impede the administration of justice by creating an impression that it had been liable to settle the claimed sum.
But Nawakwi opposed the institution of committal proceedings against her by African Life Financial Services Limited for alleging that former workers of Anglo-American were not paid their dues before their transition to its organisation in 2000.
Nawakwi said she only disclosed that the ex-Anglo American workers had been transferred to African Life Financial Services and a sum of money had been given to their new employers for their transition but the money was not given to the employees.
In an affidavit in opposition to summons for an order of committal for contempt, Nawakwi charged that the complaint as framed against her is fatally flawed as it contains no details or particulars from which she can say a prohibited type of ex curia discussion was contemplated to take place.
“The excerpt quoted in the statement in support of their application (applicant) is clearly insufficient to support any alleged contempt,”Nawakwi said.
She explained that she did not talk about the actual case in court neither did she discuss the cause of action to a claim, the defence or let alone the merits or demerits of the case.
“All I have stated is the disputable facts that the ex-Anglo American workers had been transferred and a sum of money had been transferred with them and they had not been paid,” said Nawakwi. “Since the defendant has framed a complaint that alleged criminal contempt it is trite law that the particulars of the alleged contempt must be sufficiently detailed with in order to sustain a conviction.”
In an affidavit in reply to affidavit in opposition to affidavit in support of summons for an order of committal for contempt, Hantuba said the alleged contemnor discussed matters which are subject for determination before court in total disregard of the High Court.
He said the alleged contemnor discussed issues brought before court for determination and argued in public media that the said issues before court had been established against him.
“The utterances by the alleged contemnor has prejudiced the defendant’s case and interfered with the course of justice,” said Hantuba. “The applicant hereby reiterates the affidavit in support of summons for leave to apply for an order of committal. The statement supporting application for leave to apply for order of committal is thorough and exhaustive and the same shows the actual words forming the basis of the complaint.”
The matter comes up today for hearing.