Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:41:30 +0000
By Chikumbi Katebe
THE trickery by Fred M’membe exposed after police discovered 11 trucks and one trailer hidden at a private garage in Shimabala area to avoid the liquidator from taking custody of the assets following the liquidation of the Post Newspaper on 2nd November this year has contributed to the commencement of contempt proceedings. Lusaka High Court Judge Sunday Nkonde has granted leave to Provisional Post Liquidator Lewis Mosho of Lewis Nathan Advocates to commence contempt proceedings against Fred M’membe and his team who have failed to hand over the list of assets as ordered by the court. The Judge has since adjourned all preliminary applications on the Post Newspaper in Liquidation to allow for contempt applications to be heard before commencement of the main matter. Mr Justice Nkonde had set December 5 2016 as date to hear all interlocutory applications in the case of the Post Newspaper in Liquidation where former newspaper owner Fred M’membe challenged the Court’s decision to wind-up its operations. Mr. Mosho has accused Mr M’membe and his lawyers, Nchito and Nchito Advocates of with-holding information vital for the execution of his duty in winding up the operations of the newspaper company. The hidden trucks were found at a private garage belonging to Karen Russell, branch manager of Transit Freight Coordinators Limited, with most of the branding on the trucks removed or otherwise tampered with. The Provisional Liquidator in his contempt application charged that Mr M’membe and his associates refused to comply with a court order to hand over a list of assets as requested for by the provisional liquidator of Lewis Nathan Advocates. Mr. Mosho accused Mr M’membe and his lawyers, Nchito and Nchito Advocates of with-holding information vital for the execution of his duty in winding up the operations of the newspaper company. Mr. Mosho recently wrote the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja asking the police command to immediately impound the vehicles that were found in Shamabala. “This is to notify you that by the High Court Order enclosed herein and dated 1st November, 2016, the High Court for Zambia placed the Post Newspaper (in liquidation) under compulsory winding up and I was appointed as provisional liquidator of the company thereof with power to inter alia take control and custody of all the assets and property of the company for purposes of winding up,” Mr Mosho said. “We have since discovered 11 trucks and trailers and one trailer all of which are concealed at a private car pack in Shimabala. I hereby seek the indulgence of your office to impound the said trucks to secure custody as per the order of the court aforesaid.” The police moved in and impounded the vehicles but could not have them driven away from the private car park because the drivers of the trucks allegedly went away with the keys. The caretaker at the garage, who at first denied entry to the team of armed police officers, was heard talking on the phone with a person who was questioning why he had allowed them to enter. Mr. Robert Chibinga, manager of asset recovery and operations of the Post in liquidation, said authorities had been looking for the trucks for over one month and that there were about 30 more trucks still missing. Mr Chibinga explained that Mr M’membe had not yet availed them the catalogue of the assets for the purpose of winding up the payments to people being owed money even after sending them a request letter. He said that they would continue searching for the other properties as they believed some trucks were still missing. Mr Chibinga said that a printout from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) indicated that some number plates for the missing trucks which were found in the garage belonged to the Post. Mr. Mosho has accused Mr M’membe and his lawyers, Nchito and Nchito Advocates of hindering progress in the process of winding up the operations of the company.