- Mr Chitotela said the letter dated April 15, 2019 was never received by him nor was he served with the statutory notice to quit and that he has not defaulted on any instalments as the lease expires in August 2022.
By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
Minister of Tourism and Arts Ronald Chitotela has denied allegations by a Kawambwa resident that he owes K397, 000 in rentals.
In this matter, Mr Charles Mpundu, proprietor of plot Number 291 and the owner of the warehouse leased to Mr Chitotela has sued the PF Pambashe Member of Parliament in the Lusaka High Court seeking an order that he vacate his property.
In defence, Mr Chitotela stated that the property in question was the former ZCBC shop turned into a warehouse and that it was a term of the oral agreement that the minister should renovate the building and provide security.
He said by oral agreement made between the two, the property was leased at an agreed rent of K50, 000 per annum for five years and not K16, 000 per month as it was a run-down structure.
Mr Chitotela said the letter dated April 15, 2019 was never received by him nor was he served with the statutory notice to quit and that he has not defaulted on any instalments as the lease expires in August 2022.
He said K250, 000 has been collected by Mr Mpundu from him for a lease period of five years.
Mr Chitotela said Mr Mpundu cannot take over possession until after August 2022 when the verbal lease agreement expires.
He denied that he is indebted to Mr Mpundu in any amount whatsoever.
Therefore Mr Chitotela denied every allegation against him in Mr Mpundu’s statement of claim and that he is not entitled to the reliefs he is seeking.
Mr Mpundu said it was agreed that Mr Chitotela would pay K10, 000 rent per month for the leased property.
He said he pegged the rent at K16, 000 and previous tenants paid the said amount but Mr Chitotela during negotiations pleaded with him to reduce to K10, 000.
Mr Mpundu stated that by a letter dated April 15, 2019, he notified Mr Chitotela of the decision to increase the rent to K16, 000.
He said that by statutory notice to quit, issued on November 25, 2019, he gave Mr Chitotela the statutory six months’ notice to vacate the premises for persistently defaulting to pay rent.
Mr Mpundu said that at the date of issuance of the said notice, Mr Chitotela was owing him K221, 000.
He said despite several reminders, Mr Chitotela failed and neglected to attend to the payment of the accrued rentals.
Mr Mpundu stated that he wants to take possession of his premises and recover the rental arrears.
He stated that as at the date of issuance of the writ, Mr Chitotela had accumulated lease rentals of K397, 000.