2 PSs convicted in contempt-of-court case of tractorgate: Risk job losses

The High Court has convicted two principal secretaries (PSs) for contempt of court for failing to comply with a court order to issue public apologies for a flawed procurement and disposal of tractors bought with borrowed funds.

Lawyer Chancy Gondwe (left) briefs Chiunda and Phiri of the conviction

Delivering a ruling on Thursday, judge Charles Mkandawire said he found PS for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Grey Nyandule Phiri and Secretary to the Treasury Cliff Chiunda guilty for disrespecting a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order in relation to the procurement and disposal of farm equipment bought with a $50 million (about K37 billion) loan from India in 2011.

In mitigation, lawyers for the two PSs Chancy Gondwe requested the court to give Chiunda and Nyandule-Phiri appropriate punishment as prescribed in the rules and not custodial sentence.

Gondwe pleaded for a lenient sentence saying the two are advanced in age, have dedicatively served government for many years and that they have never committed any offence before.

Judge Mkandawire has since been adjourned to next week for sentencing the duo.

The two can be sentenced to prison, made to pay a fine or given a suspended sentence,   depending on the mitigating factors.

It could also mean loss of their jobs.

According to private practice lawyer Justin Dzonzi, when one is convicted of contempt of court in the criminal case, then it automatically follows that criminal sanctions will have to come

“. In this case, one could be fined or imprisoned and obviously that conviction alone is a criminal record and under the Public Service Act, that might be a ground for disciplinary action.

“But when the conviction leads to a civil case, then you might require perhaps restitution and punishment by way of ordering them to pay damages and telling them to do certain things. But again, in my view, this could also be ground for further sanctions such as dismissal,” Dzonzi said.

The farm equipment was purchased using part of the $50 million line of credit from Export-Import Bank of India with the intention to mechanise agriculture in the country.

The farm machinery in question included 100 tractors and 144 maize shellers. In total, 177 tractors were bought for distribution to agriculture development divisions (ADDs) to enable poor smallholder farmers graduate to mechanisation by hiring the equipment. However, only 77 tractors were distributed to ADDs while 100 were sold.

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Mtete
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Mtete

Why does Malawi, known the world over for it’s courage in passing judgements, waste time on otherwise straightforward cases like this one?
Just jail them. There are so many bright young men to take their place.

Thomas Ussi
Guest
Thomas Ussi

Amangidwe basi

Bamusi
Guest

Dzonzi, mwati criminal sanctions, Ku Dpp uko amangomuchisa munthu kumupasa ntchito Ina or ambassador kunja. Mumapereka ma sanctions? Anthu woyipa inu, sankho basi.

Nasingwe
Guest
Nasingwe

azalandile kaye ma BENEFITS ndipomwe azasiye ncito etini.
malawi style. it starts with the COMMISSIONERS.SKOMO

wa Nyau
Guest
wa Nyau

amangeni basi,osaiwalaso aliyese anagulako tractor zija.nawoso akalowe kapena ngongole yaku india abweze okha

Patrick Sompho
Guest
Patrick Sompho

Its a lesson to all learned Malawians in decision-making positions. Never be persuaded by politicians to compromise your professional ethics. Never suppress your conscious for anything. We need to always realise that we do not exist for ourselves, otherwise, we are interconnected with others out there. They love us so dearly, our mothers, fathers, spouses and children the list is endless. We need not to fear for our jobs to compromise to such costly extremes. We need to fear God. We need to consult him in trying moments especially when pushed by those who think they have power over us.… Read more »

Nasingwe
Guest
Nasingwe

2 much zibwana alakwa alakwa. ko lamulo ndi anthu a mmidzi okha???????
no wonder mabwana olo ndi mmodzi yemwe sanakaloweko ku ndende

Nasingwe
Guest
Nasingwe

Odillo and mzake uja, muluzi, joji nkondiwa, ya canthunya ili patipo kodi

Nyama Zikuluzikulu
Guest

It apportions responsibility on the decision makers. If you make unlawful decisions to please your political masters, you suffer the consequences while you political masters are unscathed. Totally uncalled for.

COmment
Guest
COmment

But the point is that they should not ‘please your political masters’, but instead do their lawful duty.

MASO ENA
Guest
MASO ENA

WHY ARE THEY STILL SERVING IN GOVERNMENT IF THEY ARE ADVANCED IN AGE? I SEE SOME DISCS SLIPPING HERE………

Mpanda
Guest
Mpanda

Koma kkkk some discs slipping mpaka 😂😂😂😂😂😂