CHITA lodge has asked the Lusaka High Court to grant it permission to appeal against the dismissal of its application where it was seeking leave for judicial review challenging the seizure of its properties in Ibex Hill.
This is in a matter in which Chita Lodge Limited through its managing director, James Chungu sued the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the Attorney General for allegedly seizing its property in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill on the premise that it was owned by former Zambia Air Force Commander, Lieutenant General Eric Chimese.
Chita Lodge Limited argued that the seizure of the property was irregular, illegal, unfair and unreasonable as the said premises had never belonged to Chimese.
But on July 12, 2019, the Lusaka High Court issued an order where Chita lodge’s application for special leave to apply for judicial review was dismissed with costs.
No leave to appeal was granted to Chita Lodge on the said order.
However, in an affidavit in support of summons for leave to apply to Court of Appeal dated July 26 this year, Mr Chungu of subdivision 2303 Ibex Hill stated that he was the applicant in the matter and his application for judicial review was dismissed with costs and no leave was granted for him to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Mr Chungu stated that Chita Lodge was dissatisfied with the decision and it was desirous of exercising its right of appeal, consequently it sought leave to do so.
He stated that the court dismissed his application on grounds that the applicant should have timely decided its fate instead of delaying the remedy of review on irregularities that its counsel was attending a conference and annual general meeting in Livingstone on unspecified dates, because the reason was not compelling.
Mr Chungu stated that the reason that Chita Lodge advanced was genuine and compelling as the court ought to have taken judicial notice of the fact that there was a Commonwealth Law Conference and Law Association of Zambia annual general assembly in Livingstone from April 8 2019 to April 13 2019.
He stated that chief justice Irene Mambilima had issued a memo suspending court proceedings during the said period to facilitate for advocates to attend the conference and annual general assembly.
Mr Chungu stated that in the light of the foregoing, he strongly believed that the court should have taken judicial notice of that and exercised its discretion to give him the benefit of doubt.
“That this court should have taken the said circumstances and taken into consideration that the next available date he could have conferred with counsel was on 15th April 2019”, Mr Chungu stated.
Mr Chungu stated that the delay in filling the application was not deliberate and that the court ought to have taken that into consideration in arriving at its decision.
He stated that the intended appeal had merit and therefore, there was a great possibility that it would be sustained.