24 November 2012

Zambia: Tujilijili Ban - High Court Reserves Judgment

THE Lusaka High Court has reserved judgment in a matter in which 15 liquor companies have challenged the Government's decision to ban them from manufacturing and supplying alcoholic drinks, popularly known as 'Tujilijili'.

Mr Justice Dominic Sichinga said on Monday that he would pass judgment on a date to be announced later and has since directed both parties to make submissions by January 14, next year.

Earlier, Chief State Advocate Mwila Kombe had sought the court's guidance on the move by the companies to seek additional relief which was not contained in the notice to apply for judicial review

But one of the applicants' lawyers, a Mr M Yousuf from Messrs AED Advocates said it was strange and ridiculous not to have raised preliminary issues when they were served with the notice containing the applicants' statement for judicial review filed on June 3, this year.

In this matter, the then Local Government and Housing Minister, Nkandu Luo on April 16, this year issued Statutory Instrument Number 23 of 2012 cancelling liquor licences of the 15 companies.

The ban was extended to importing, exporting, selling or supplying of the drink in sachets.

The minister prohibited the manufacture, importation, exportation, stocking, bottling, packaging, conveyance, possession, sale, supply or consumption of the liquor.

But the liquor firms applied for judicial review and are seeking an order to quash the ban, claiming it was illegal.

Mr Justice Sichinga in his ruling ordered the companies through their lawyers to amend their original notice of motion within 14 days and that the State would be at liberty to file a further affidavit in opposition.

The companies, through their lawyers, contended that Professor Luo's decision to revoke the liquor licences was procedurally improper, illegal and was a breach of the rules of natural justice.

They said they employed 1,000 people directly and about 10,000 indirectly and that if the ban was allowed, there would be massive job losses and loss of revenue on the part of the Government.

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