MAUREEN Mwanawasa has admitted that her community initiative failed to account for K450,000 Global Funds out of the K1,247,713 which the High Court has ordered her to pay back to the Zambia National AIDS Network (ZNAN). The Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative received K1,247,713 Global Funds from ZNAN as the principal recipient, but an audit report revealed that the money was not appropriately used. In an interview following a default court judgment ordering her to pay K1,247,713, Maureen said the figure was too high. This is in a matter where ZNAN, through its trustees George Zimba, Beatrice Chola and Evans Banda, sued Maureen and five others – Noreen Mapala, Wright Mumeka, Sam Mundia, Simon Sakala and Rosaria Fundanga – demanding payment of K1,247,713 which the organisation received and failed to account for. The court entered a judgment in default after Maureen and others failed to file their defence within the stipulated period. Maureen said the MMCI did not account for K450,000 because they could not find receipts.
“We dispute that figure which they are asking us to pay and yes, we admit failing to account for K450,000 because we could not find receipts,” Maureen explained. She also said there was an agreement to settle the matter out of court, adding that it was the reason they did not appear or file any defence. Maureen further said the parties agreed on a payment plan beginning last December, but the plan could not be executed because the offices were still closed and would only open this week. She said she was surprised that the court had entered a judgment in default when the parties had agreed to settle the matter out of court. “As far as we are concerned, we agreed with our colleagues to settle the matter outside court and we are still discussing,” Maureen said. And ZNAN board chairman Zimba, the first plaintiff in the matter, confirmed that the two parties were holding discussions to settle the matter out of court. “We are negotiating the issue to settle the matter outside court. In fact, we have reached an advanced stage,” Zimba said. He said it was a pity that lawyers were on industrial break and could not advise the court on the way forward. Zimba said once they resolve the issue, the judgment in default entered by the High Court would not be enforced. – See more at: http://www.postzambia.com/news.php?id=5446#sthash.EnkGcawT.dpuf