LUSAKA Lawyer Gilbert Phiri has submitted to the Lusaka High Court that it is in the interest of justice that his case where he has sued a woman of unknown profession for accusing him of abusing the judicial process and State machinery be determined on its merit.

He has argued that the conduct of Dora Namasiku Lukukela was an attempt at undermining the jurisdiction of the Court and bringing its integrity into question and amounted to contempt of court.

In this matter, Phiri has sued Likukela, seeking damages for libel for accusing him of abusing the judicial process and State machinery.

Phiri of Messrs PNP Advocates is also seeking an injunction restraining the said woman, whether by herself, her servants or agents or otherwise, from further publishing any words similarly defamatory to him, interest on the sums found due and any other relief the Court may deem fit.

Last year, High Court Judge Ruth Chibabuka granted Phiri an ex-parte injunction restraining Likukela from further defaming him.

Phiri stated in his statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court last year, that on November 16, 2019, Likukela wrote in the comments section on Zambian Watchdog’s Facebook page after an article entitled “Police, immigration ignore court order on Zambian of Somali origin” was published.

He stated that Likukela wrote, among other allegations, “This is what I’m against. The same lawyer, Gilbert Phiri, stole my Jeep Grand Cherokee and household goods, which cost me US $300,000 on a false claim, which he took before his relative judge and obtained a default judgement without according me an opportunity to be heard when I do not even owe him the K113,000…,” Likukela is said to have stated.

“Who is he to tell the Court he abused, the judicial system he undermined and the police he corruptly induced to support him with aggravated robbery of my belongings, in giving harass (sic) corpus to someone else when he hasn’t yet accounted for violating my rights, including my right to life, for which he has been attempting to assassinate me through other people…I am walking, suffering and wearing and eating things I am not accustomed to because Gilbert Phiri robbed me!”

Phiri stated that Likukela’s words, in their natural and ordinary meaning, meant and were understood to mean that he was a thief, aggravated robber, bandit, a corrupt person, an assassin, aless than honourable advocate at the Bar, who had abused the Judiciary and the police.

He stated that his reputation had been seriously damaged and he had suffered considerable distress and embarrassment.

But Lukukela, in her defence and counter claim, denied the allegations, saying it was irresponsible and a misconception for Phiri to accuse her of causing harm to his name or reputation, with facts of his own illegal conduct, which he could not even compare to the harm and ruin he has done to her livelihood, United Nations diplomatic status and international career and the lives of her children.

Lukukela also denied that Phiri suffered emotional anguish and due damages, but that he was the one that owed her damages of her Jeep Grande Cherokee and other personal belongings.

However, in his reply filed on March 3, 2020, Phiri stated that Lukukela’s allegations were incoherent, scandalous and had no bearing on the merits of his claim.

He stated that Lukukela had cast aspersions on the Court by implying, inter alia, that the Court was capable of being improperly manipulated by counsel and was a conduit for money laundering activities.

Phiri stated that the Court had jurisdiction over him and Lukukela and could, hence, determine his claim against her.

He submitted that there was nothing illegal in taking the Lusaka woman to court for defamation as he had sufficient locus standi and the right to be heard.

Phiri added that it was in the interest of justice that his case be determined on its merits.