Lawyer demands $16m from Shoprite

shopriteRENOWNED Lusaka lawyer Lewis Chisanga Mosho is demanding US$16 million (K118 million) from Shoprite Holdings Limited and Shoprite Checkers Limited for causing the freezing of his accounts at Barclays Bank across the country through a court injunction. In 2011, Shoprite Holdings Limited and Shoprite Checkers Limited obtained an order from the Kitwe High Court restraining Lewis Nathan Advocates and Lewis Chisanga Mosho from operating his bank accounts at Barclay Bank, the injunction which was later discharged by the same court. In causing the freezing of the accounts, Shoprite Holdings Limited and Shoprite Checkers Limited had undertaken commitment to pay damages which were going to be occasioned by the freezing of the accounts and now Lewis Chasanga Mosho is demanding K118 million (K118 billion unrebased) in damages. This was in a matter in which Shoprite had obtained an injunction restraining Mr Mosho from operating his account at Barclays Bank to which the proceeds of the sale of Shoprite shares at the Lusaka Stock Exchange were held. In a letter to Shoprite Holdings Limited and Shoprite Checkers Limited lawyers William Nyirenda & Company dated 11th May, 2015, Mr Mosho’s lawyers Palan & George Advocates said following the discharge of the injunction restraining Lewis Nathan Advocates and Lewis Mosho from operating the frozen accounts, their client was consequently demanding damages amounting US$16 million. Mr Mosho in his claims has complained of loss of instructions from his local and international institutions who withdrew their services after learning that his accounts had been frozen. He has also complained that the injunction had caused him to lose retainerships on the accounts as well as loss of reputation from both international and domestic corporate industries. He said he had lost joint venture investment opportunities as a result of the injunction. “We wish to bring to your attention that on September 2, 2011, your clients obtained an ex-parte order of injunction, freezing operations of all bank accounts for our clients. The order of injunction having been granted to your clients, the same was conditioned on the undertaking that your clients would abide by an order to pay damages to our clients if the court subsequently was of the view or opinion that our clients have sustained any damages by reason of the order. Our clients have instructed us to demand from your clients arising from the grant of the order of injunction and the damages occasioned to our clients are in the sum of K118,000,000.00 (us$16, 000,000) and costs in the sum of K700,000.00,” Mr Mosho’s lawyers said. Mr Mosho said he was seeking that the matter should be resolved amicably but warned that if Shoprite had a counter proposal, it should be made within 14 days failure to which his lawyers would have no alternative but to have the damages assessed. The injunction restraining Mr Mosho from operating all his accounts at Barclays Bank was discharged by then Kitwe High Court Judge Isaac Chali on February 2, 2012. Judge Chili ruled at the time that Shoprite Holdings Limited and Shoprite Checkers Limited had not demonstrated what irreparable damage they were likely to suffer if the injunction was not going to be discharged. “Firstly, it is trite in the practice of law in Zambia and I take judicial notice thereof having been in private law practice myself for a considerable period, that legal practitioners do not maintain a separate client account for each client. The practice is to keep many clients’ funds in one account and only to account to each individual client separately for their part of the main account. Indeed great prejudice will be caused particularly to the other clients of the 1st defendant if I grant the injunction the plaintiffs seek. Even the business of the 1st defendant may be adversely affected,” Judge Chili ruled.

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