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 2010-08-19 02:12 pm Back to NEWS
Conditions to register judgment were satisfied - TIZ
FILE: Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu (l) The Post

Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has contended that the conditions to register the London High Court judgment that found second republican president Fredrick Chiluba and seven others liable to theft of about $46 million funds in the Zambian courts were fully satisfied.

Commenting on High Court judge Evans Hamaundu's decision to throw out an application by the state to register the London High court, TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu said in a statement made available to the Post Online that his organization had taken time to study and reflect on the judgment.

Lungu observed that the findings against Chiluba and the others in the London High court were still valid since judge Hamaundu did not speak about the validity of the London High court judgment.

"As far as we are concerned the findings against Chiluba and others still remain valid," Lungu.

"Our position on the registration of the London High Court judgment obtained against Dr. Chiluba and others was clearly articulated in our (TIZ) amicus brief prepared for us largely by Professor Muna Ndulo, an eminent scholar who has reviewed global jurisprudence on the issues at play, including decisions on similar provisions of the law from African Common law countries where the same arguments were raised," Lungu stated

"We still contend that the conditions for registration of the judgment under the Common Law and the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Chapter 76 of the Laws of Zambia have been fully satisfied," he added.

He stated that TIZ was of the view that such an important pronouncement of the law as to reciprocity of the London High court judgment must go all the way to the Supreme Court.

He stated that it will be a pity if government will abandon the matter for reasons other than legal ones.

Lungu stated that the Attorney General should be encouraged to pursue judge Hammuundu's decision to its logical conclusion because government had used the London High Court judgment to extract payments from defendants Atan Shansonga, Bimal Thaker, B.B Thanker, Cave Malik and their insurers in the United Kingdom

"As Transparency International Zambia, it is our unwavering position that this is a matter of immense public interest and it cannot be abandoned at this hurdle. It is unimaginable that the Attorney General can abandon the cause at this stage given the rather large judgment sum which should be recovered from the judgment debtors," Lungu stated.

He stated that properties in Belgium were recovered with a gross value of US $8 million in a claim against four (4) European defendants based on the same allegations of conspiracy to defraud as was maintained against Dr Chiluba and other Zambian defendants. The Zambian Government has registered the same Judgment against Raphael Soriano in the Belgian Courts and resisted an application by Soriano challenging that registration.

He explained that TIZ's understanding of the judgment was that judge Hamaundu did not state that the judgment could not be registered in Zambia except that he had set aside the order to grant the Attorney General of Zambia, on behalf of the Zambian people, leave to directly register the London High Court judgment under the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act.

"Judge Hamaundu states that a judgment creditor (Attorney General) wishing to enforce a foreign judgment at common law will have to commence an action founded on that judgment as a cause of action.(J19) He actually presents the Attorney General another avenue through which he should consider in seeking the enforcement of the foreign judgment against Dr. Chiluba and others," he stated

Lungu said TIZ find it instructive that judge Hamaundu in this current judgment does not favour direct registration as a way of enforcing foreign judgments.

"What we find more intriguing is that he fails to refer to his own judgment in Reefcor Limited v. Les Generals Des Carriers Et Des Mines Exploitation Gecamines (High Court for Zambia, Kitwe District, (11 June 2007) (2002/11K/52G) where he allowed for direct registration of a judgment rendered by the High Court of South Africa despite the respondent arguing that South Africa is not one of the Britannic Majesty's dominions, neither is it a British protectorate nor a mandated territory and that it does not have a reciprocal agreement with Zambia and did not fall under the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Chapter 76 of the Laws of Zambia," stated Lungu.

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