In September 2016, High Judge Justin Chashi ordered Stanbic to pay Savenda K192.5 million for loss of business and vital contracts after Stanbic bank wrongly and negligently reported Savenda to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRC) for defaulting on instalments.
If your name or the name of your company appears on the Credit Reference Bureau (CRC), it’s almost impossible to get a loan or other financing from banks or other lenders because it is evidence that you are a bad debtor. When you apply for a loan, Banks and other lenders check whether your names appear on the Credit Reference Bureau.
In this case, Savenda obtained a US$540, 000 loan from Stanbic to buy a Printing Machine in 2007. According to records, Savenda was servicing the loan as scheduled, but the bank’s system could not capture these monthly repayments. Stanbic admitted the error and put it in writing that they would rectify the problem. But, the other department of the Bank reported Savenda to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) as a deliquescent borrower.
Savenda sued the bank.
The High Court found that the failure to capture the monthly re-payments were the bank’s fault and therefore ordered the bank to compensate Savenda for loss of business.
Stabic appealed to the Court of Appeal which decided that the damage suffered by Savenda was only nominal, that is very small or existing in name only and awarded Savenda K5000.
Savenda went to the Supreme Court, the last court.
In March 2018, three Supreme Court judges Nigel Mutuna, Michael Musonda and Evans Hamaundu dismissed the appeal by Savenda.
Surprisingly, the three judges did not just dismiss the appeal but instead decided to punish Savenda savagely. The Supreme Court ordered Savenda to pay Stanbic costs for all expenses the bank incurred from the High Court up to the Supreme court. The Supreme Court said Savenda did not suffer even nominal damages and that Stanbic did not breach any of its duties to Savenda. Though admitting that the matter was very important as it affects borrowers and lenders in Zambia, the Supreme Court said litigants like Savenda should not even be allowed in ‘our courts’.
But now it has emerged that the Supreme Court judges were biased and so aggressive against Savenda because they received bribes from Stanbic through the bank’s lawyer Eric Silwamba.
As this handwritten note shows, Eric Silwamba is directing his courier to pay the judges and two other supreme court judges USD $190, 000 each. The other judge was receiving the plunder on behalf of the Chief Justice as it was not clear at this point which judges would constitute the bench so everyone had to be taken care of. The handwriting has been verified as belonging to Eric Silwamba
This is the first of the series of evidence the Watchdog has against the judges as we are aware that real property was bought for them.