Lungu finally takes possession of Horizon School in public interest

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has finally repossessed stand no.KABUL-N69565/196 Kabulonga where Horizon School is premised from its Turkish owners.
The state and Horizon Education Trust Limited have since entered into an agreement that Horizon School be compensated K18 million for its assets, fixtures and land.
This is in a matter where Horizon Education Trust Limited was seeking leave to apply for judicial review to challenge President Edgar Lungu’s decision to reposess its land.
The school had cited the Attorney General in the matter over President Lungu’s decision to compulsorily acquire stand number KABUL-N69565/196.
Leslie Mbula, who is the chairperson of Horizon Education Trust, had argued that government has not disclosed its public interest over the decision to acquire the premises.
He said the legal ownership and title of the property has never been transfered to the state and the Ministry of Education agreed to give the school the right to use the premises for 90 years.
Mbula stated that there was no legal title to convey ownership of the premises to President Lungu as was alleged.
” What exist between the respodent and the applicant is a contract authorising the applicant to be on the property for 90 years and as such if the respondent require to obtain early possession of the property before the expiration of the term, the respondent has liberty to approach the applicant for negotiations, ” Mbula, a former secretary to Cabinet, said.
“Government has failed to provide information as regards what compelling public interest overrides the important public interests of education provision, which is in fact done in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.”
Mbula stated that the decision to acquire the premises was illegal as there was no public interest that the government had disclosed.
” The decision by the respondent to acquire a property valued at US$4,318, 000.00 for unclear and unjustified public purposes was unreasonable and on unnecessary charge on the public fund and also taking into account that the State is highly indebted in other debts,” he said.
The school demanded compensation of the fixtures and land in excess of K18, 000,000.
Government’s reason for repossessing the school was that the Turkish owners were allegedly involved in terrorism activities in Turkey.
However, according to the consent order pursuant to Order 21 Rule 4 of the High Court Rules dated April 14, 2021, justice Getrude Chawatama has directed that government shall compensate Horizon Education Trust Limited for all movable properties that it has taken from it and is using at the now Kabulonga Trust Schools
“By consent of the parties, it is hereby ordered and adjudged the state shall compensate Horizon School all unexhausted improvements (all buildings, structures and other fixtures erected by Horizon Education Trust Limited on the land,” said judge Chawatama.
“In default of agreement on the quantum by the parties, the assessment of the compensation in clause (1) and (2) shall be refered for assessment before the deputy registrar.”
She added that each party shall bear their own costs.