THE Lusaka City Council (LCC) has evicted former mayor Stephen Chilatu and three other tenants from their houses and have vowed to pursue them for over K500,000 owed to the institution through unpaid rentals for its Ibex Hill houses.
The rentals have accumulated over three years and this decision follows the loss of the case on Wednesday.
The quartet was among five tenants that had sued the council for unlawful eviction after they were served with eviction orders in 2012 following their protest against the local authority for effecting new rentals.
Town Clerk Alex Mwansa told the Daily Nation yesterday that the council would not rest until Mr. Chilatu and the other tenants paid the money owed to the institution as the houses they were renting were built for the sole purpose of increasing revenue for the council to complement other revenue sources.
Mr. Mwansa explained that the only tenant who was not evicted after the ruling by the court was former LCC director of legal services, Gilbert Lungu, because the council still owed him money for services rendered to the institution.
“We have evicted our former mayor Mr. Chilatu and three others after they lost the case in the High Court. The only person remaining is our former director of legal services Mr. Lungu because we owe him as there are some money that have not yet been paid to him and so we could not evict him.
“However, that does not mean that we have forgiven him because he is going to be treated just like any of the tenants who sued us and refused to pay rentals because those houses we built for the purposes of revenue collection to complement the council’s other sources of income.
‘‘The council will ensure that the money owed is paid in full because no one is above the law,” Mr. Mwansa said.
In 2011 the council decided to hike the rentals for its 10 houses in Ibex Hill, one of which was occupied by Mr. Chilatu, from K3,000 to K4,500 to which the former mayor and four others objected. The council then served them with eviction orders but the quartet sued the council in 2013 and obtained an injunction against what they termed as unlawful eviction.
They also sought the court’s protection against any victimisation which, according to them, included the council’s demand for what was owed to them.
Among their claims, the four contended that in line with the presidential decree to sell houses, they too needed to buy the council houses because they were entitled to do so as sitting tenants. However, High Court Judge Fulgence Chisanga on Wednesday dismissed the case saying it was incompetent to enlist the aid of the court to compel a party to an agreement to do something not initially agreed upon by the two parties when it was made.
Following the ruling, the council swung into action on Thursday and evicted the four from the houses while compelling them to pay the money they owed which amounts to about K150,000 for each one of them.
As of yesterday, only two out of the four had settled their debt with the council.