The State has asked the Lusaka High Court to stay proceedings in a matter where Horizon Education Trust is seeking leave to apply for Judicial Review against the President’s decision to compulsorily acquire the school.
The Attorney General wants the proceedings to be halted, pending determination of the State’s application to compel Horizon Education Trust to pay costs it incurred in defending the first court action, which the school later discontinued, before proceeding with the current matter.
In this matter, Horizon Education Trust, citing the Attorney General as respondent, is seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision by the President, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to compulsorily acquire stand number KABUL/N_59565/196 in Kabulonga, known as Horizon School.
It is further seeking an order of prohibition to stop government from taking possession of the premises, among other reliefs.
In its affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review filed recently, Horizon Education Trust stated through its chairperson, Sainot Leslie Mbula, that this was an appropriate case for the Court to grant a stay of implementation of the decisions, which government was likely to effect on December 30, this year, pending determination of the application to apply for judicial review.
“The Status quo should be preserved or maintained until this honourable court has reviewed the legality, reasonableness and propriety of the decisions to acquire and yield up possession of the premises otherwise, the application will be nugatory and academic,” stated Mbula.
But the State now wants the proceedings to be stayed, pending determination of its application to compel the school to pay costs it incurred in defending its first court action, which was later discontinued.
This is according to an affidavit in support of summons for an order to stay proceedings pending determination of an application to compel Horizon Education Trust to pay costs in its previous matter filed, Thursday.
Francis Mwale, a Principal State Advocate in the Attorney General’s Chambers, stated that on December 26, this year, the Attorney General filed an application for an order of costs under cause No. 2019/HP/1867.
He added that the said application was made after Horizon Education Trust discontinued the matter whose facts and claims were similar to the current case.
“The said application is pending determination,” Mwale stated.
He stated that the State incurred reasonable costs in defending the first action and that he verily believed that the same have to be paid by Horizon Education Trust before proceeding with the current matter.
“In the interest of justice, we humbly pray that this honourable court stays these proceedings pending determination of the respondent’s aforementioned application for costs under cause number 2019/HP/1867,” Mwale stated.
Mwale stated that the State incurred reasonable costs in defending the case in which Horizon School had earlier sued the government under cause number 2019/hp/1867, but withdrew the matter when it filed a new action, seeking leave to apply for judicial review to challenge the President’s decision to compulsorily acquire stand number KABUL-N69565/196 Kabulonga, known as Horizon School.