K14m DBZ case takes off this month

THE case in which the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) has sued JCN Holdings Limited, Post Newspapers Limited and director of defunct Zambian Airways Limited Mutembo Nchito for failing to pay back the K14 million loan takes off this month.

Lusaka High Court judge Justine Chashi has set April 28, 29 and 30 as dates for trial.

The matter was referred back to the High Court after Supreme Court judge Munyinda Wanki ruled against the lower court that ordered JCN Holdings, Post Newspapers Limited and directors of the defunct Zambian Airways to pay back K14million debt owed to DBZ.

In a statement of claim, DBZ states that it was entitled to the claim of K14 billion plus interest calculated at the 182 GRZ Treasury bill rate currently at 16 percent per annum and eight percent margin or a floor rate of 20 percent per annum, whichever is higher, from the date of the disbursement of the loan and under the terms of the guarantee.

The bank says JCN Holdings Limited and Post Newspapers Limited have failed, refused and neglected to pay back the debt.

The bank  is further asking for an order for specific performance that Mr Mutembo Nchito executes a guarantee as envisaged and provided for under clause 8.6 of the syndication loan agreement as a result of the defendants’ frustration of the debt equity swap agreement by their decision to cease the companies operations and or damage for misrepresentation.

JCN Holdings, Post Newspapers editor-in chief Fred M’membe and former Zambia Airways director Mutembo Nchito had appealed against the Lusaka High Court judgment that ordered them to pay back K14million as sought by the DBZ.

Passing judgment, Judge Wanki said the court’s decision was arrived at after it was deduced that there were irregularities in the transfer of the matter from Judge Albert Wood, who initially handled the matter, to Judge Nigel Mutuna who further heard the matter and passed the judgment on it.

Judge Wanki said Judge Mutuna had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and determine its judgment because the required procedure to transfer the matter from Judge Wood to him was not followed.

The judge also questioned the conduct of the defence counsels led by Mr. Mutembo Nchito on the day that the said judgment by Judge Mutuna was made to pay back the debt owed to DBZ.

Judge Wanki said it was contemptuous and irregular for senior lawyers of Mr. Nchito’s kind to walk out of a legally constituted court during its proceedings.

He said such conduct was not expected from senior lawyers serving at the bar.


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