LUSAKA lawyer Linda Kasonde’s law firm, LCK Chambers, has applied for leave to withdraw as advocates for Prime Television in a matter where the television station is challenging government’s decision to cease all cooperation with it in the Lusaka High Court.
Kasonde wants her law firm to cease representing Prime Television due to receiving insufficient instructions.
This is according to an affidavit in support of summons for an order for leave to withdraw as advocates sworn by Kasonde.
“I am counsel on record representing the petitioner (Prime Television) under the name and style of LCK Chambers. That we have ceased to receive sufficient instructions from the petitioner and as such we would like to withdraw from the record,” stated Kasonde.
In this matter, Prime Television has petitioned the Lusaka High Court for an order quashing Information Minister Dora Siliya’s decision to cease all cooperation with the station.
The television station, which has cited the Attorney General, Topstar Communications Company Limited and Multichoice Zambia Limited as respondents, is seeking an order declaring government’s decision to cease all transactions and business with it, unconstitutional.
Prime Television further wants an order that all media houses have the right to access and disseminate information from government without undue hindrances and an order that Topstar and Multichoice Zambia cannot remove it from their platforms at the direction of government.
Last month Lusaka High Court Judge, Catherine Lombe Phiri ordered that the proceedings be stayed and accordingly referred the case to arbitration.
This was after Topstar applied to have the matter stayed and referred to arbitration.
It argued that the Arbitration clause had not been exhausted by Prime TV and that the proceedings were therefore in conflict with the said clause and thus improperly before court.
Topstar stated the relationship between it and Prime TV was commercial in nature and governed by a Service Level Agreement.
It submitted that where an Arbitration clause is contained in an agreement and a party decides to institute Court proceedings, then the said party would be said to be in breach of the Agreement.
However, Prime Television’s proprietor Gerald Shawa asked the court to proceed and hear the matter on its merit.
He argued that the Service Level Agreement between the Television station and Topstar was a commercial disputes agreement.
Shawa submitted that Topstar did not invoke the Arbitration clause when it wrote to the Television on March 27 this year, informing it that it was being removed from the Topstar platform, following a directive from the Minister of Information and Broadcasting that all government institutions should desist from engaging with Prime TV.
He added that the Service Level Agreement between the station and Topstar did not extend to constitutional matters such as the ones before court.
But ruling on the same, Justice Phiri granted Topstar its application to stay proceedings and refer the matter to arbitration.