Bailiffs on Wednesday pounced on Rural Electrification Authority (REA) headquarters and warehouse in Lusaka’s Chinika area to seize property following the institution’s failure to settle over K4 million debt owed to Earthrow Investment Limited.
But drama ensued when President Edgar Lungu’s Special Advisor for Politics Kaizer Zulu arrived at the scene and blocked the bailiffs from effecting the court order.
The bailiffs managed to seize assorted goods at the REA warehouse, but failed to access the head office as Zulu, who was driving a white Range Rover registration number BAG 1183, blocked them from executing the court order.
On October 19, bailiffs had seized vehicles from the Authority namely, a Toyota Land Cruiser ALX 6722; Toyota Land Cruiser ABV 2600; Toyota Land Cruiser ABV 175; and Toyota Land Cruiser ALB 4802 and office furniture.
But sources at REA told News Diggers! in an interview that Zulu intervened, adding that out of fear, the bailiffs returned the seized furniture and vehicles.
“Kaizer Zulu is here at REA and has blocked the sherrif and trying to stop the sheriff to execute. The REA seizure could only happen at the warehouse premises. However, Mr Kaizer Zulu intervened and, unfortunately, due to pressure, the furniture and vehicles seized at head office were returned by the sheriff on the understanding that REA agrees to a consent judgement and payment plan to settle the debt. The bailiffs were requested to stand down at the head office, but there was another team that had already executed and collected quite a number of items at the REA warehouse in Chinika. So, despite the seizure being curtailed and stopped at the head office by this official from State House, the one at the warehouse still went ahead,” the source revealed.
According to a writ of fiery facias signed by the High Court, REA in 2013 contracted Earthrow Investment Limited to build a substation in Kaoma district’s Luampa area, but later terminated the contract in September, 2014, forcing the company to seek legal redress at the Arbitration Tribunal.
And the Arbitration Tribunal in its ruling ordered REA to pay K3,494,332.49 and a 10 per cent interest, bringing the total debt to K345,192.19.
Further, according to the sheriff’s seizure form dated October 30, 2019, the Court ordered for a seizure of assorted goods like furniture, fridges, television sets, bicycles, and gensets, among many other items.
“Take note that by virtue of an authority given to me by the court as sheriff’s officer, I have on this 30th day of October, 2019, seized goods specified in the following inventory for the sum of K4,201,362.49. The inventory to which the above notice refers as follows: transformers (59); Samsung upright fridge; music system; Hisense upright fridge; computers, Canon copier; bicycles (27); duplex cables (7); aerial cables (30); ladders; pistol grips; Samsung TV, L.G. Plasma; office chairs; water dispenser; microwave; robin compactor; Honda GX690 genset and scolts genset,” the Sheriff’s seizure form read in parts.
“And further take note that, unless the amount demanded and endorsed in this warrant, together with the Sheriff’s fees and expenses are paid, the goods or properties taken in execution as seized goods shall be sold by Sheriff’s Sale by auction five days next after date of seizure unless they are sooner retrieved. If there are some representations or negotiations of some sort, the goods seized shall remain in the custody of the Sheriff the Judgement Debtor’s risk. The Sheriff’s office is not responsible for the delivering of goods seized so as the goods damaged in the course of seizing and storage.”