HORIZON Education Trust Limited has argued that there’s no decision, judgement or order delivered by the Lusaka High Court which has compelled the State to tax costs in the matter where it’s seeking leave to apply for Judicial Review against the President’s decision to compulsorily acquire the School.
The school has therefore, asked the court to dismiss the State’s Bill of Costs pegged at K256, 240.54, as costs for a previous lawsuit which the school discontinued against the State.
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’s further seeking an order of prohibition to stop government from taking possession of the premises, among other reliefs.
Earlier this year, the Lusaka High Court halted proceedings in the matter.
Lusaka High Court judge Gertrude Chawatama stayed the proceedings in the matter and ordered Horizon Education Trust to pay the State costs occasioned to the State in its first action under cause no. 2019/hp/1867, which it later discontinued.
But on April 3, this year, Horizon Education Trust Limited asked the Lusaka High Court to discharge its order to stay proceedings in the matter, arguing that the State had used the stay of proceedings to create conditions favourable to itself.
Horizon Education Trust chairperson of the trustees, Leslie Mbula argued that the State had failed to compensate the school for the immovable property despite having valued the same at approximately K18 million.
He stated that after the court ordered a stay of the proceedings, the State, through a letter requested for costs of K256, 240 but the school on March 2, this year advised that the costs were excessively high, considering the fact that no step had been taken by the State in the cause.
Mbula further stated that on March 16, the State, through another letter, reduced their fees to K225,000 but the school still rejected it as it was still excessive and the State was yet to tax the bill of costs.
But according to a notice of taxation of costs, the State maintained that Horizon Education Trust limited owed it 256, 240.54 as costs in a previous lawsuit which the school discontinued against it.
However, Horizon Education Trust has now asked the court to dismiss the State’s Bill of Costs.
According to an affidavit in support of summons to dismiss bill of costs, Mbula stated that to the best of his knowledge, information and believe, there was no decision, judgement or order delivered by the court which had ordered the State to tax costs in the matter in any way whatsoever and howsoever.
“On February 3, 2020, the applicant’s advocates requested the respondent to compute their costs as a matter of urgency. On February 27, 2020, the respondent (State) responded and pegged their costs at K256,240 but the applicant rejected the pegged costs as being on the high side and requested the respondent to review their costs downwards. On March 16, 2020, the respondent responded and reduced their costs to K225,000. On March 17, 2020, the applicant’s advocates advised the respondent to tax their costs. That to the applicant’s surprise, the respondent has filed a bill of costs in this matter. There is currently a stay of proceedings in this matter pending determination of payment of costs in cause no.2019/HP/1867,” stated Mbula.