Post Newspapers limited proprietor Fred M’membe is resisting public participation in the K18 billion they owe the Development Bank of Bank (dbz) and has filed an affidavit in opposition to the summons to join proceedings as an interested party.
Last month the Supreme Court granted an order, allowing Chilufya Tayali, Executive Director of the Zambian Voice to join the proceeding to ensure that public interest was maintained in the proceedings which he said appeared destined to frustrate and subvert the Development Bank of Zambia claim of K18billion owed by M’membe and Mutembo Nchito, the Director of Public Prosecution was paid back to the Development Bank of Zambia.
But M’membe says Tayali does not have sufficient legal interest to join in the pursuit of the debt which the Bank of Zambia declared as having been irregularly awarded against the capital interest of the DBZ.
Tayali argued in his application that there was a conspiracy and collusion between the Government and the defendants in the matter intended to subvert the claim and thereby cause a loss to the public who own the Bank as a public institution.
The collusion, he said was apparent in the manner in which the Government had tried to stop the matter in court even when the Managing Director Dr. Abraham Mwenda opposed the maneuver, apparently resulting in his retirement from public service.
However in his affidavit in his opposition to the joinder, M’membe is arguing that the issue between the two parties was a contract adding that the intended intervening party, Chilufya Tayali on behalf of the Zambian Voice, had not demonstrated privity of contract with any of the parties.
Chilufya Tayali of the Zambian Voice argued that there was need to join the proceedings to protect the debt owed to the people of Zambia because there appeared to be collusion and conspiracy between government and the people behind the debt to frustrate the recovery of the K18 billion.
M’membe is arguing that the intended intervening party has not shown proof that the contract in issue pertains to tax payers’ money as this cause of action was commenced by the bank which is seeking to recover the money on its own behalf.
He further argues that there is no cause to show that the intended interested party, as a company, will be affected by a contract to which it was never a party.
Tayali has however maintained that there was a conspiracy and real danger that the K18 billion owed by Zambian Airways may be lost if there was no intervention to stop the theft. He argued that the appointment of the tribunal and suspension of three High Court Judges was part of the campaign to frustrate the recovery of the debt.
M’membe has argued that the intended interested party has no interest in the matter and its application should therefore be dismissed with costs.
Tayali maintained that government exhibited intentions to frustrate the recovery of the debt through its earlier intentions to stay the matter even when there was no plausible legal reason for doing so as evidenced by an affidavit sworn by DBZ managing director Dr Abraham Mwenda who called on the High Court to dismiss expunge from the record an application for a stay forced on the company by Solicitor General Musa Mwenye.
In his affidavit, Mwenda had said the advice of the solicitor General to stay the matter was contrary to the interest of the company to recover the debt and that there was no legal basis on which this had been filed and such advice had been rendered.