THE Lusaka High Court has restored contempt proceedings against FDD leader Edith Nawakwi to the active cause list after the case was struck out for want of prosecution.
According to an affidavit in support of ex parte summons for an order to restore the matter to the active cause list, Counsel Kamuwanga Phiri of Malambo and Company stated that the matter was scheduled to come up for hearing on September 6, 2021 at 09:00 hours but he had another matter at 08:30 hours before Justice M Zulu.
He added that another lawyer, Mulambo Haimbe was supposed to attend before the court but his meeting on national duty took longer than planned.
“We rushed to the chambers and arrived shortly after 09:00 hours at this honorable court’s chambers and was advised by the Marshal via phone call that the court had struck the matter off the active cause list on account of non-attendance of parties with liberty to restore within seven days,” stated Phiri.
He stated that the non-attendance at 09:00 hours was unintentional and was not meant to be discourteous to the court and was deeply regretted.
Phiri said the defendant was desirous to proceed with the hearing of the contempt proceedings on the merits and verily believes that no prejudice will be occasioned to the alleged contemnor should the court grant the defendant an order restoring the matter to the active cause list.
And according to the ex parte order signed by Judge Susan Wanjelani, she ordered that the matter be restored to the active cause list.
“It is hereby ordered that the contempt proceedings be and are hereby restored to the active cause list and that the costs of and incidental to this application shall be in the cause,” read the order.
Hearing in the matter has since been set for January 24, 2022.
In this matter, Dickson Mtonga and 22 other security guards sued African Life Financial Services limited in 2014 demanding US$300,000 and terminal benefits owed to them following their transfer.
But the company asked the court to commit Nawakwi to prison for misrepresenting facts during a press briefing on February 6, 2021, which was simultaneously and subsequently broadcast on various media platforms when the matter was pending determination before the court.
Nawakwi is stated to have said that workers who were yet to be paid their terminal benefits were transferred from Anglo America to African Life with a package of US$3,000.
“During the press briefing, and during the pendency of this matter before this Honourable Court, Edith Nawakwi did make use of speech by which she misrepresented the facts herein in such a manner as to make it appear that the defendant, African Life Financial Services (Z) Limited, is liable to pay the plaintiffs the sum of US$300,000 and other monies, which is a matter pending determination before this Honourable Court and which speech is and was calculated at prejudicing the general public against the said defendant,” read the motion filed before the Court.
The company stated that during the said briefing, Nawakwi’s speech was contemptuous and capable of prejudicing it.
African Life Financial Services further stated that Nawakwi committed an act of intentional disrespect to the court and the judicial proceedings before it.
They also added that Nawakwi was to bear the costs of the action.