Five Lusaka bus drivers have dragged an alleged illegal committee comprising of nine Patriotic Front cadres based at City Market to court, seeking payment of over K800,000 which was collected from them as contribution for the past two years after loading buses.
They are further seeking for an order declaring that the defendants’ conduct of collecting levy from them was illegal, null and void because only the local authority can collect levy in bus stations.
In this matter, the plaintiffs Chrispine Phiri, Gibson Sibanda, Isaac Maziba, Moses Bwalya and Simon Phiri have sued William Mutonga, Peter Tembo, Samson Banda, Fransisco Kwaya, Masauso Zulu, John Chirwa, Godfrey Mulenga, Provey Kamananga and James Phiri as defendants.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Tuesday, the plaintiffs stated that they were at all material times, bus drivers residing in Lusaka, adding that the defendants were also bus drivers.
They stated that two years ago, the defendants set up an illegal committee comprising of ruling Patriotic Front cadres at City Market, Zingalume route, to collect levies from them.
The plaintiffs claimed that the said committee collected a sum of K45 per trip with an average of six trips per day from them, on an understanding that each of them would be getting monies once per month from the said contributions.
They, however, added that they had not benefited from the said money
“Monies the plaintiffs have not benefited from to-date herein,” read the statement of claim.
The plaintiffs stated that apart from the illegal fees demanded by the defendants without any lawful backing, they were also paying a gazetted council levy to the Lusaka City Council.
They noted that they seek to be refunded K826,200 because they had not benefited from the said contributions made to the illegal committee for the past two years.
“The plaintiffs will aver that they have not benefited or collected any monies from the said contribution for the past two years and, therefore, seek to be refunded the sum of K826,200. Despite several reminders and request made for the defendants to make good of the outstanding balance due, the defendants have failed or neglected to settle the amount owing,” read the statement of claim further.
They added that the defendants had given no indication when the outstanding amount due would be paid, which eventually had resulted in financial losses on their part.
The plaintiffs are now claiming payment of K826,200 paid to the defendants’ illegal committee and an order declaring that the defendants conduct of collecting levy was illegal, null and void as it is only the local authority with the mandate to collect levy in bus stations and not the defendants.
They are also seeking an order for interim injunction restraining the committee, their agents or whosoever, from chasing them from operating in the bus station, harassing, threatening, or illegally collecting levy from them, until full and final determination of the matter.
The plaintiffs are also seeking damages for loss of opportunity to use or invest the monies obtained by the defendants, interest, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.