THE matter in which UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has sued FDD president Edith Nawakwi for defamation of character will come up on March 1, this year, for hearing of the former’s application for the court to set aside Nawakwi’s defence in the case, among others.

This is according to composite summons to set aside defence or in the alternative to strike out defence or part thereof and enter judgement on admission filed in the Lusaka High Court.

“Let the parties concerned attend before the Honourable Justice Mr C Zulu in Chambers on March 1, 2021, at 08:30 in the forenoon or so soon thereafter as counsel for the plaintiff can be heard on a composite application on the part of the plaintiff (Hichilema) for the following reliefs on the grounds contained in the affidavit accompanying this application, namely; for an order to set aside the defence herein on the ground that it was filed after the plaintiff had filed an interlocutory judgement in default of defence, and further, in any event that the defence was filed out of time without prior leave of the court,” read the summons.

“Or in the alternative, for an order to strike out paragraphs 14 up to 26 of the defence for containing extraneous matters in violation of the rules of practice; for an order to enter judgement on admission and for an order that the costs of and incidental to this application be borne by the defendant in any event.”

In this matter, Hichilema sued Nawakwi in the Lusaka High Court over claims that he sold to himself a house, which belonged to Lima Bank in Kabulonga during the privatisation process.

Hichilema is seeking damages for libel, aggravated and exemplary damages and an order directing Nawakwi to retract the defamatory words, which she caused to be broadcast and published in the course of a programme entitled ‘the Hot Seat’ on August 27, 2020, in relation to his acquisition of the property known as 14/3/A/F488a, Serval Road, Kabulonga.

He also wants an order of injunction to restrain Nawakwi, her agents, servants and whomsoever from further defaming him or publishing similar defamatory words of him.

In her defence, Nawakwi argued that she was not the first person to raise the issue of Hichilema’s acquisition of property No. Subdivision 14/3/A/F488a Serval Road in Kabulonga, saying on May 18, 2007, The Post Newspaper (in liquidation) wrote about the same in its editorial as well as The Times of Zambia on January 14, 2012.

She further said that Hichilema may not have acted as receiver, manager or liquidator of Lima Bank Limited, but Grant Thornton was actively involved in the liquidation process and disposal of assets of the said bank.

And Nawakwi stated that she conducted a search at PACRA, which revealed that Hichilema was a shareholder and had interest in: African Life Financial Services Zambia Limited, Sanlam Life Insurance Zambia Limited, Menel Management Services Limited, among others.

However, Hichilema asked the Court to enter judgement on admission against Nawakwi for admitting that she uttered the words complained of in relation to his acquisition of a house on Serval Road in Kabulonga.

The UPND leader also submitted that Nawakwi had introduced irrelevant matters in her defence, which had nothing to do with the claims that he has brought before court.

He added that the said extraneous matters will merely delay, embarrass or prejudice the prosecution of his case.

Meanwhile, Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has put off the delivery of judgement in a matter in which a Lusaka businessman is accused of forging President Edgar Lungu’s signature, among other charges, to next week.

Magistrate Mwale adjourned the case to February 18, 2021, for delivery of judgement as it was not ready when the case came up, Thursday.

Richard Mutale, 47, was found with a case to answer in the charges he is accused of forging President Lungu’s signature on a land allocation document and that of former State House press aide Amos Chanda on a letter acknowledging a business appointment with the Head of State.

Mutale was found with a case to answer in seven charges, but acquitted on four counts.