FORMER Finance minister Ignatius Chombo has been taken to court by the Lower Manyame Sub-Catchment Council over an outstanding $44 000 water bill at his farm in Rafingora.
BY CHARLES LAITON
According to the court papers, Manyame Sub-Catchment Council’s statutory obligation in terms of Water Act includes the granting of permits and levying of rates for the storage, use and abstraction of water in the catchment area known as Lower Manyame Sub-Catchment area which includes Manyame River.
“The defendant [Chombo] is the lessor and known possessor of Allan Grange Farm in Rafingora, which falls within the catchment area managed by the plaintiff [Manyame Sub-Catchment Council]. The defendant from time to time abstracts, stores and uses water from Manyame river, which is within the catchment area managed by the plaintiff,” the water body said in its declaration through its lawyers, Hove and Partners.
The council said in terms of the Water Act, the water body is obliged to charge the former minister a levy in respect of the total amount of water abstracted or stored or utilised at his farm.
“On August 8, 2017 the plaintiff, through its undersigned legal practitioners demanded the sum of $20 298 from the defendant, being the outstanding levies as at that date,” the council said, adding: “Despite the defendant making some payments towards the debt and acknowledging the debt verbally by June 2018, the plaintiff had invoiced the defendant a total amount of $43 997, 35.”
The council further said on June 25, 2018 and through its lawyers made a written demand to Chombo requesting him to settle the due amount.
“Despite demand by the plaintiff, as at the date of drafting the summons, the defendant has failed to settle his outstanding debt. It is just and equitable for the defendant to pay costs on an attorney and client scale, for the reason that he has neglected to pay despite acknowledging the debt. This has needlessly caused legal expenses to be incurred by the plaintiff,” the council said, urging the court to rule in its favour.
Chombo is yet to respond to the litigation.