Four top officials of the fastest growing commercial bank, FDH Bank Limited have been dragged to court for contempt in an outstanding case between the bank and privately owned Maranatha Girls Academy Limited.
FDH Managing Director, Eric Ouattara, deputy Managing Director, William Mpinganjira, Head of Credit and Rehabilitation, Arthur Yapuwa and Recoveries Manager, Joseph Khonje have been dragged to court for “blatantly and contemptuously” disobeying two High Court orders stopping the bank from seizing the academy’s property and let alone selling it.
Judiciary spokesman Mlenga Mvula confirmed FDH Bank bosses have been summoned to court and that “once found guilty, they risk being fined or given custodial sentences.”
Mvula said hearing of the matter will take place in Judge’s chambers on May 18, 2017.
According to a Notice of Motion for Warrant of Committal dated April 25th, 2017 which Nyasa Times has seen, the four are expected to be in court on May 18th, 2017 under Civil Cause number 681 of 2013 between the bank and the school.
This follows an Order for Leave the academy obtained on the same day for the court to hold the said bank officials in contempt by defying an order given by the same court on September 27th, 2013 and January 6th, 2014 wherein an injunction was granted stopping the bank either by itself, its servants or agent from realizing Maranatha Girls Academy Limited’s property Title Number 7/45 in South Lunzu, Blantyre.
Maranatha at first asked FDH Bank Holdings Chief Executive Officer, Thom Mpinganjira, to answer contempt charges.
The school has since changed the legal mind, saying Mpinganjira belongs to the Holdings unlike the four who are for FDH Bank Limited, in this case involved in the legal battle with Maranatha Girls Academy and not the Holdings.
“The four are holding this court in contempt by blatantly and contemptuously disobeying an order given by this court on September 27, 2013 and January 6, 2014, wherein an injunction was granted restraining the Respondent [FDH Bank] either by itself, its servants or agents from realising security in title number South Lunzu 7/45 in the city of Blantyre until the determination of this matter or a further order of the court,” reads part of the court notice to the four.
The academy had used the property as surety to obtain a loan from FDH Bank, a subsidiary of FDH Financial Holdings Limited, amounting to K281, 820 906.47.
The loan has been outstanding for several years and the bank has been trying to recover the money by selling the provided collateral.
However, the academy obtained an injunction stopping the bank from realizing the property and sought court declaration on the matter. The school accused the bank of flouting Section 68 of the Registered Land Act.
And the High Court in Blantyre in April, 2016 ordered the bank to pay the school K392 million as compensation for loss and damage arising from a breach of three months statutory notice.
The court had reduced an earlier compensation in which it ordered the bank on April 4th, 2015 to pay the academy K784 830 909.16.
In his determination then, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda pointed out that 50 percent of the amount should be paid “outright as FDH prepares appeal or any other subsequent action.”
It is not yet known if the bank paid the 50 percent of the amount, but the academy once engaged the Sheriff of Malawi to seize office equipment from the bank’s Umoyo House Branch in Blantyre to enforce payment of the compensation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :