UPND has submitted that pleadings in a case where a Lusaka man and a company are seeking an order that the party be declared bankrupt for allegedly failing to pay debt amounting to K520, 000, are defective and must be struck off.
UPND secretary general Steven Katuka has further argued that the purported originating process does not disclose any actionable cause of action against the defendants.
In this matter, a Lusaka man, Prince Siame, and Prospect Tech Limited have sued UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and other party members in the Lusaka High Court for allegedly failing to pay K400,000 for tickets printed for the party during the national card renewal exercise in 2017.
Siame and Prospect Tech Limited want an order for payment of K400,000 plus 30 percent interest, bringing the total due to K520,000 and further, an order that UPND be declared bankrupt for failing to pay its debts and that the party be dissolved and deregistered.
They have sued Hichilema, Katuka in his capacity as UPND secretary general, Miriam Masando (organising committee chairperson for the card renewal) and UPND Registered Trustees as defendants.
The plaintiffs are further seeking damages for breach of contract and an order that the defendants pays all the costs for the collection and all charges incidental and connected to the suit.
But according to an affidavit in support of summons to set aside the originating process for irregularity filed in the Lusaka High Court, Monday, Katuka urged the court to strike out the originating process for irregularity.
He stated that a perusal and interrogation of the documents filed into court established that they were defective as they did not disclose any actionable cause of action against him, Masando, Hichilema and UPND.
“I am further advised by my advocates and verily believe that pleadings in this matter are defective and must be struck off insofar as they seek to liquidate the UPND. I am further advised by my advocates and verily believe that the said Writ of Summons filed in this matter is irregular in material particulars as the second plaintiff’s ( Prospect Tech Limited) full address has not been endorsed on the Writ of Summons in terms of the amended High Court Rules,” Katuka stated.
He stated that in the circumstances, this was a fit and proper case for the court to strike out the originating process for irregularity.
“I am advised and verily believe that in the alternative, unless the action is struck out, the defendants will be embarrassed and cannot therefore, enter defence. No prejudice would be occasioned to the plaintiffs by order striking out the originating process and conversely the interest of justice shall be served,” Katuka stated.
Last month, Prospect Tech Limited and Siame had asked the court to enter judgement in default of appearance and defence against the defendants for having failed to enter an appearance and defence in the matter.
They wanted the court to award them damages for breach of contract and an order for payment of K400,000 plus 30 percent interest, bringing the total due to them to K520,000.
Prospect Tech Limited and Siame had stated in their statement of claim filed by their lawyer Tutwa Ngulube last month, that by a written agreement made between them and the defendants represented by Masando dated March 16, 2017, the defendants contracted them to print 200, 000 tickets for the National Card Renewal exercise at the cost of K2 per ticket, thereby translating to K400, 000.
The plaintiffs stated that soon after the execution of the said agreement, they printed 200, 000 tickets.
They added that the defendants further requested for 50,000 more tickets on a gratuitous terms known as mbasela.
The plaintiffs stated that the defendants pegged the tickets for sale at K1000, K50 and K30 respectively.
“The plaintiffs shall aver that according to the information supplied together with the request, the third defendant (Hichilema) was supposed to be the guest of honour at the said event,” read the claim.
The plaintiffs claimed that despite delivering the said tickets within the agreed period, the defendants had not paid the money despite asking for more time in which to pay.
They stated that despite having committed to pay by November 17, 2017 the defendants still failed to pay the debt and to date the outstanding amount of K400,000 and interest of 30 percent remained unpaid.