Zambia News

Nevers Mumba dragged to court over land dispute

MMD leader Nevers Mumba says he did not sell any piece of land to Lusaka resident Oliver Scott, claiming that the latter attempted to defraud him of his property when he refused to pay unagreed interest on a loan facility.

This is in a matter where Mumba has been sued by Scott in the Lusaka High Court for failing to complete the transfer of land which was allegedly sold to him at US$70,000.

Scott is seeking an order for specific performance of the contract of sale dated September 6, 2018, being the transfer, assignment and that Mumba vacates possession of property LUS/38497 in Ibex Hill, Lusaka.

In his statement of claim, Scott said Mumba was a registered owner of property known LUS/38497 and in 2018, he entered into an agreement with him for the sale of the property at the purchase price of US$70,000.

He stated that a contract of sale and assignment were accordingly executed between the parties upon full payment of US$70,000, which was paid to Mumba.

Scott explained that by virtue of the said contract of sale, the fixed date for obtaining the State’s consent to assign was two weeks from date of exchange of contracts.

He said it was further agreed that the completion of the sale of the said property was within four weeks of exchange of contracts and that Mumba would have an option to repurchase the said property within 60 days from the date of execution of the contract of sale.

Scott contended that it was now over two years since he bought the property but Dr Mumba has to date failed to complete and transfer the said property to him despite numerous reminders.

But in his defence, Mumba said Scott lent him huge sums of money in January 2018 as per handwritten loan agreement.

He said to secure the repayment of the said money, Scott always requested him to sign a “dummy” contract for the value of the amount borrowed and interest.

Mumba said the current amount which is the subject of claim was US$40,000 of which the agreed interest was to be US$30,000 making the total repayment to US$70,000, which was stated in the contract as a guarantee to Scott of the money he would pay back.

He said the US$70,000 that Scott is now claiming he had paid as the purchase price for the land was false as the latter was deliberately lying and misleading the court in relation to the contractual terms.

Mumba said Scott never paid him US$70,000 as the purchase price for his property.

“The plaintiff has been claiming exorbitant amounts of interest and asked the defendant to pay more than US$400,000 with exorbitant interest of the borrowed sum of US$40,000. This amount was later reduced to US$155,000 by the plaintiff who demanded this sum through a letter written by his lawyers dated March 17, 2020. This amount was still unreasonable because the plaintiff was still asking the defendant to pay more than twice what had originally been agreed,” Mumba said.

He stated the he refused to pay Scott the amount and insisted that he owed the agreed sum of USD 70,000 which consisted of the principal sum plus interest.

Mumba said he has on several occasions since 2019 requested for Scott’s banking details so that he can pay the money but the plaintiff has refused to provide the same.

He claimed that Scott attempted to lodge the contract at the Ministry of Lands and was trying to change ownership of his property in Ibex Hill into his own name without following procedure and the same was reported to relevant authorities.

Mumba denied authorising Mweemba Chashi and partners to obtain the state’s consent to assign property but Scott illegal processed the same without his approval.

“The defendant is ready and willing to immediately pay US$70,000 owed to the plaintiff but the plaintiff has been refusing to receive the money and is now using this claim to try and extort more money from the defendant by taking his property which is valued for more than the US$70,000 that the plaintiff is claiming was the purchase price,” Mumba said.

He indicated that he would pay the money in court.

Mumba is now counterclaiming a declaration that the purported documentation for sale of his land were null and void.

He wants an order that the attempts by the plaintiff to arm-twist him into paying more than the agreed debt repayment of $70,000 and attempts to enforce the purported contract of sale as a way of getting the defendant to do what the plaintiff wishes is extortion and fraud.

He wants an order compelling Scott to accept payment of the money and an order preventing him from charging penalty and compound interest.

Mumba further wants a permanent injunction stopping Scott and his agents from purporting to have bought his land and lodging any documents concerning the same at Ministry of Lands or in any way interfering with ownership of the property and his quiet enjoyment.

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