THE Lusaka High Court has set aside the judgement in default of appearance and defence entered against PF secretary general Davies Mwila in a case where Lusaka Voice Newspaper Limited sued him, claiming over K380,000 for campaign advertorials and adverts placed in its publication during the 2015 presidential by-election.

Meanwhile, Mwila has denied having any business relations with the newspaper and further disputed that the ruling party owed it K383,000.

He stated that at no point did the PF ever engage its officers to print any campaign materials for the PF candidates in 2015.

In this matter, the Lusaka Voice Newspaper has sued Mwila in his capacity as secretary general of the Patriotic Front, claiming over K380,000 for campaign advertorials and advertisements placed during the 2015 presidential election.

On January 14, the Lusaka High Court entered judgement in default of appearance and defence against Mwila, but has, however, set aside the same.

According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court Commercial Registry, the newspaper stated that by an oral agreement made between itself and Mwila between November, 2014, Mwila contracted its services to draft, design, print and publish advertorials and adverts in support of and to market the candidature of its then-presidential candidate, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

The newspaper stated that this was during the election campaigns leading up to the Presidential by-election, slated for January 15, 2015, following the demise of the late president Michael Chilufya Sata, who died at King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom on October 28, 2014.

The Lusaka Voice newspaper further stated that it was the PF’s condition that the newspaper should not publish anything else, but the agreed campaign materials.

It stated that the newspaper closed in March, 2015, due to the PF’s failure to pay the owed funds.

But in his defence filed on February 29, Mwila disputed the fact that there was any agreement between him and the newspaper.

He stated that he was not secretary general at the stated time in the oral agreement and that the secretary general at the time was the current Minister of Defence, Davies Chama.

“The defendant (Mwila) shall aver during trial that no such agreement or contract was arrived and no such materials were delivered to the defendants and that there was never such commitment and the said agreement never existed,” Mwila stated.

“The defendant shall aver that it has never had any business relations with the plaintiff. It is disputed that the defendant owed K383,000 and also that it has never received the purported invoice.”

Mwila stated that the party shall aver at trial that it had established the office order that none of the officers, members, agents mentioned in the statement of claim were agents of the party and had no capacity to bind the party to any agreement.

He added that any commitment, if any, were null and void.

Mwila stated that it was not possible that any of their officers could have contracted such a huge debt verbally, and that the said figures being claimed in the proceedings were fictitious and expletive.

“These proceedings are in fact an attempt to unjustly enrich themselves,” he stated.

Mwila further stated that at no point given in time did the PF ever engage a secretariat or any of its officers to print any campaign materials for the PF candidates in 2015.

“PF, as a party, has had no dealings with the Lusaka Voice Newspaper and that the statement of claim has failed to demonstrate how the newspaper arrived at the sum of K383,000 if according to them they only printed 6,000 copies at K3 each according to their statement of claim,” stated Mwila.

He further stated that the statement of claim did not show details of when and how many such material were delivered if at all.