Nkandu Luo went beyond her powers – Tujilijili Laywers
Local Government and Housing Minister Nkandu Luo on April 16, this year signed Statutory Instrument Number 23 of 2012 banning Tujilijili and liquor licences for 15 companies.
But the companies through their lawyers Siakamwi Chikuba, Ronald Hatoongo and Noel Siamundo from AED Advocates challenged the minister’s decision.
They had filed a notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review which High Court Judge, Dominic Sichinga Sichinga has since granted.
Justice Sichinga however,dismissed the application to stay Government’s decision to ban the manufacturing and supply of the high-potent spirits packaged in sachets, popularly known as Tujilijili.Leave for an application for judicial review has, however, been granted.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Sichinga said though he had granted the companies permission to go ahead with the judicial review, the same would not work as a stay.
“Upon hearing counsel and upon reading the affidavit in support of the application for judicial review, leave is here by granted. The same will not operate as a stay against the minister’s decision,” Mr Justice Sichinga said.
Before Mr Sichinga granted the application, Mr Chikuba had argued that the 15 companies were affected by the minister’s decision of revoking of their licences which were issued in respect of manufacturing, importing, exporting, and selling or supplying of liquor.
Mr Chikuba said his clients were holders of investment licences granted by the Government and were also employers of more than 2,000 workers who would be affected if the ban went ahead.
He said the minister’s decision was ultra-vires and beyond the powers vested in her.
“Our contention is that the Liquor Licensing Committee is the body bestowed with powers to revoke or cancel any liquor licence but the minister went beyond her powers under 5.53 of the Liquor Licence Act by cancelling the applicants’ licences,” Mr Chikuba said.
He argued that although the same Act gave the minister powers to revoke any licences, there were procedures outlined for revocation such as giving notice to the companies affected, but this was not done.
Mr Siamundo said even where notice was given, the Act required that the rules of natural justice should be upheld by giving the affected companies an opportunity to be heard and also to show cause why their licences should not be revoked.
“We submit that the minister had no powers to revoke all these licences as she is not the issuing authority and this renders her decision illegal, improper and unreasonable,” he said.
Mr Hatoongo said his clients’ legitimate expectation was breached by the minister’s decision as they had the right to be heard in conformity with the provisions of the Liquor Licence Act.
[Source: Times of Zambia]