Court News

700 villagers sue company over land

By CHINTU MALAMBO
MORE than 700 villagers in Mwembeshi have sued the State and Franshoek Farm Limited for allegedly taking possession of land which they claim to have lived on for more than 50 years and which also had graves of their ancestors.
Davidson Kashanga and 779 other villagers are seeking a declaration from the Lusaka High Court that the certificate title no L 205 issued to the farm be cancelled on grounds of impropriety in its acquisition.
Kashanga and the others have argued that no consideration was made of the villagers who have lived on the said land for more than 50 years and therefore, have an interest in the subject land.
They cited Franshoek Farm Limited and the Attorney General as first and second respondents.
The villagers also want to be deemed lawfully entitled to the subject land and that after such declaration, they be awarded costs for the action.
According to a Statement of claim filed in court, the villagers claimed that they have lived on the land for more than 50 years, upon which land exist graves of their ancestors and other community developments.
They stated that Franshoek farm had now obtained a title deed no L3085 to the plaintiffs village after having the said land demarcated and numbered F/175a/b by the Commissioner of Lands.
The villagers contended that they had quite enjoyment of the village land until the new developments of the first defendant having obtained a title deed over the village.
The villagers further claimed that the action by Franshoek to obtain title deeds to their land had caused them to suffer loss.
Meanwhile, the villagers have sought leave of the court to serve the writ of summons to Franshoek farm through print media advertisement.
This is according to an affidavit in support of ex parte summons for leave to serve writ of summons and statement of claim by way of substituted service.
They stated that this was because efforts had been made to serve writ of summons and statement of claim on Franshoek farm but to no avail.
The villagers stated that the company does not seem to have a registered office, as a search conducted at Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) does not disclose a registered office.
“Therefore the plaintiffs intend to serve court process by advertisement in the print media,” read the document.

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