Kabwe Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube has asked the Lusaka High Court to set aside, for irregularities, the matter in which Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa has sued him for defamation.
In this matter, Mwitwa has sued Ngulube, seeking damages for libel and slander for accusing him of being used by UPND to fight political battles after LAZ petitioned the State for attempting to alter the Constitution of Zambia through Bill 10, 2019.
But in an affidavit in support of summons for stay of execution for order for leave to serve writ of summons and statement of claim by substituted service pending application to set aside for irregularities, filed on August 26, Ngulube argued that the manner in which the writ of summons was served on him was irregular and illegal and the same must be set aside for irregularity.
“On August 20, I received a phone call from one media house stating that I had been sued in my personal capacity by Mwitwa. A day later, I saw some correspondence circulating on social media and later on a copy of the Writ and statement of claim. I am aware that the said writ having being issued out of the principal registry in Lusaka ought to have been personally served on me or an adult member of my household and not any other premises,” he stated.
Ngulube further stated that there had been no attempt to serve the said writ on him and that there had been no such tender of such document for service on him.
He added that his Law firm Tutwa S. Ngulube and Company had no instructions to receive any process on his behalf and that he was currently on leave from the said firm.
Ngulube argued that the grounds upon which a writ could be served by substituted service had not been satisfied and that it was not impossible for Mwitwa to serve the said writ on him.
“As rightly stated in their affidavit, I am a public figure whose whereabouts are known and can be found in more than one place including the National Assembly where I am the Deputy Chief Whip, the Parliamentary Office in my constituency and my house in Kabwe. I am also aware that in order for submitted service to suffice, the defendant must either be elusive and unable to be found. From the date the writ of summons, August 22, 2019 which was a Thursday, the application for substituted service was lodged the following day; the question is when was it impossible to serve the writ of summons?” he asked.
Ngulube stated that the application for substituted service was premature and an attempt to embarrass him.
He added that he was of fixed abode and a prominent member of both the legal professions and the Zambian Parliament and could not be said to be elusive by whatever imagination.
Ngulube further stated that the application was made in very bad faith and should be set aside.
He claimed that the motivation for the application was to ambush him by coming with court orders he would not see or know about, all under the impression that the same would have been served by substituted service.
“I crave this court to grant this application so that service may be effected by advert. They have all stopped answering phone calls and to effect personal service, we need them to acknowledge receipt which is difficult. That their residential addresses are unknown and that the addresses given were fictitious. I do not intend to be served via print media newspapers when I can acknowledge and collect my original documents,” stated Ngulube.