THE Lusaka High Court has struck out a matter in which African Life Financial Services commenced contempt proceedings against FDD leader Edith Nawakwi after she alleged that former Anglo-American workers were not paid their dues before the company transitioned in 2000.
In the said 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.
But when the matter came up for hearing, Monday, the complainant in the matter and the legal counsel were not before court.
As a result, Judge Susan Wanjelani struck off the contempt proceedings from the active cause with liberty to restore it within seven days, failure to which it will remain dismissed.
She however stated that the main matter against African Life Financial Services will continue.