ROBUST Trailers and Bodies Limited has sued Professor Nkandu Luo in her capacity as chairperson for Tasinta Programme Board, claiming that its outstanding rental arrears is K46,000 and not the K113,700 being claimed by the latter.

The company is therefore seeking an order for the stay of sale of goods seized in distress pending arbitration.

According to an affidavit in support of originating notice of motion filed in the Lusaka High Court, Robust Trailers and Bodies Limited managing director Christmas Ngoma stated that on December 1, 2011, Robust Trailers and Prof Luo entered into a lease agreement in respect of Stand No. 1638/2716 Malambo Road, Lusaka at an agreed rent of K15,000 per month, payable three months in advance for a period of five years.

He stated that on October 14, last year, the respondent wrote a letter indicating that they were signing up new tenants and begun a mission of frustrating the lease agreement entered between the two parties.

“That sometime in November 2020, the workshop experienced flooding due to the ripped roof that was not fixed by the respondent despite being aware. An intimation was made to the respondent that the premises was not ideal for the company’s business operation and amenable to the exorbitant increase in the monthly rent of K25,000 from K15,000. On January 11, 2021, a payment of K67,500 was made through a bank transfer. However, on January 26, 2021, a notice of vacation was issued by the respondent indicating that we owe the defendant an outstanding amount of K113,700. On July 1, 2021, a further payment of K67,500 was paid through a bank transfer,” Ngoma stated.

“The respondent caused to premises disruption in the supply of electricity which disrupted our business operation. On September 8, 2021, the respondent through its advocates Messrs Simeza Sangwa and Associates demanded for payment of outstanding rentals in the sum of K113,700 and that we should vacate the said premises immediately.”

Ngoma stated that shockingly, on September 21, 2021, a warrant of distress was issued by the respondent.

He argued that the K113,700 being claimed by the respondent is incorrect as the outstanding amount is K46,000.

“In accordance with clause 4(1) of the said lease agreement, it was agreed by the parties that if any dispute were to arise, it shall be referred to arbitration. If a stay is not granted it will render the arbitration process as mere academic exercise. That in the premises, I urge the honourable court to grant the order for stay of sale of goods seized in distress pending arbitration,” stated Ngoma.