Franciscan Missionary Sisters Registered Trustees Zambia has asked the Lusaka High Court to throw out a matter where Zambia Italian Orthopaedic Hospital Registered Trustees has sued it for an order that it yield up and give vacant possession of the hospital.

The Franciscan Missionary Sisters want the matter dismissed for being an abuse of court process, arguing that it will suffer prejudice with unnecessary legal costs trying the same matter that is already before court.

In this matter, Zambia Italian Orthopaedic Hospital has sued Franciscan Missionary Sisters in the Lusaka High Court, seeking a declaration that it is the registered owner of the hospital.

The hospital further wants an order that the Franciscan Missionary Sisters immediately yield up and give vacant possession to it and further, or in the alternative, an order for the surrender of vacant possession of the said property, among other claims.

In an affidavit in support of originating summons, Peter Garfield White, a British national and treasurer of the Zambia Italian Orthopaedic Hospital, stated that it was a matter of record that according to a Certificate of Title number L2733, dated May 24, 1995, the hospital was the duly registered owner of stand No. 8105 situated in Lusaka.

He explained that on December 1, 2009, Franciscan Missionary Sisters Registered Trustees Zambia were engaged under a contract of service to administer the medical operational services of the hospital constructed on the said property and owned by Zambia Italian Orthopaedic Hospital.

But in an affidavit in support of summons to determine the matter on the point of law filed recently, a trustee in the Franciscan Missionary Sisters Registered Trustees, Sr Theresa Chisanga, explained that she commenced an action against the hospital on March 4, 2015, under cause No. 2015/0325.

She stated that she was seeking an order that the Zambia Italian Orthopaedic Hospital that was incorporated in 2010 be dissolved and wound up and no liabilities contracted or created by it should affect the plaintiffs and their assets.

Sr Chisanga also, among others, wanted an order that Stand 8105, otherwise known as Plot 22, Sunduza Chisidza Crescent, belongs to Franciscan Missionary of Assisi Congregation registered trustees and an injunction restraining all the defendants from selling or mortgaging any part of the plot, until final determination of the matter.

She stated that the said matter was still active before Judge Charles Zulu, but that Italian Orthopaedic Hospital in March 2015, commenced an action under cause no. 2015/HP/0406 against Franciscan Missionary Sisters, which was dismissed by the Court as there was already an action commenced earlier on the same subject matter.

Sr Chisanga stated that to her dismay, on October 10 this year, Italian Orthopaedic Hospital commenced an action claiming the reliefs currently being sought under cause No. 2015/HP/0325.

She stated that the subject matter and issues to which Italian Orthopaedic Hospital has brought in this action under cause No. 2019/HP/1628 is the same subject matter being litigated with Franciscan Missionary Sisters under cause No. 2015/HP/0325, which was the dispute of the same property on stand No. 1805.

“This action commenced by the applicant, herein, is against the same respondent under the 2015 action anchored on the same dispute of legal title on the same stand No. 1805. I am advised by my advocates and verily believe the same to be true that this matter is an abuse of process and tantamount to multiplicity of proceedings,” stated Sr Chisanga.

“The parties, herein, will be vexed twice if this action is allowed to continue, thus, this matter should be dismissed for abuse of process and multiplicity of proceedings.”