A 43-YEAR-OLD pastor, Elias Kaleshi, of Global Ministries landed in the Chelstone Local Court after being sued for non-payment of house rentals, water, electricity and gabbage collection bills amounting to K3,200.
Kaleshi was taken to court by his former landlord, Brenda Chulu, 36, a widow of Lusaka’s Chelstone township.
Chulu told senior court magistrate Bertha Zulu who was sitting with presiding magistrate Mary Namangala that Kaleshi moved into her house in November last year after paying rentals three months in advance.
She said after three months, Kaleshi failed to pay for rentals and was asked to vacate the house but refused to leave on the agreed date but instead summoned the landlord at unnamed law firm.
“I was disappointed that a man of God who was in the wrong could summon me to a law firm. That is why I decided to sue him to pay for the one month and 16 days he occupied the house without paying.
“From the period of November he has never paid for water, electricity and gabbage collection bills,” Chulu said.
She said she was a widow and depends on house rentals for the welfare of the family.
Earlier Kaleshi told the court that he was struggling with finances because he just started the church and that since vacating the house in Chelstone, he is squatting at a brother’s house in Lusaka’s Avondale area.
He said he was ready to settle the rentals he owes Chulu but if only the court could allow him to pay in instalments of K400.
Kaleshi said his wife who was a business woman has a young baby and she can only start her business when the baby is older.
Passing judgment, Magistrate Zulu ordered Kaleshi to start settling the rentals this month end with the first instalment being K1,500 and to clear the K1,700 in the next two months.
Zulu urged Kaleshi to ensure that he does not default in paying, “you are a pastor and you know what the Bible says concerning widows, widows are close to God’s heart and I do not need to counsel you because you know the Bible better,”
She also urged Kaleshi to start a small business and not to only depend on the church for an income.