The High Court in Blantyre is this Monday expected to start hearing Malawi’s former president-for-life, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda property case as administrators of his controversial estate National Bank of Malawi Plc (NBM), one of the beneficiaries Chamwabvi Investment Limited obtained an injunction stopping any activity at Shire Valley Cattle Ranch in Chikwawa.
NBM is seeking relief from court to declare that the estate of Kamuzu is the owner of the farm situated at Paiva Village , Traditional Authority (T/A) Ngabu in Chikwawa.
The was reportedly sold by Chamwabvi Investment Limited to privately owned Agri Courier Limited.
Judge Dingiswayo Madise is set to hear the matter in which about a dozen of lawyers are outwitting each other in the matter.
The administrators, NBM, led by lawyer Happy Mwagomba are arguing in court that Kamuzu Banda did not sell the land totalling 4 636 hectrers or part of it.
But according to a letter submitted to court written by lawyers of the administrators for the estate to Attorney General dated Octobe 24 2017, the Agri-Courier Limited bought 1079.933 hectares from Chamwabvi Investment Limited in 2015.
The letter indicates that payments were made to Chimwabvi Investment Limited between February 2015 and January 29 2016.
“During this period , our client was the administrator of the estate and Chamwabvi Investment Lts had no authority whatsoever to sell this land or otherwise deal with it ,” reads NBM’s letter to Attorney General signed by lawyers Chibambo & Company.
NBM wants to declare that the acquisition of the ranch by Agri Courier Limited was fraudlent.
Lawyer for Kamuzu family, Ralph Mhone – MP, could not immediately comment.
Graham Carr, a firm of public accountants which was appointed by the High Court to ascertain how much Malawi’s former autocrat was really worth, said its efforts to unravel the mystery of Kamuzu’s wealth – which took them to overseas banks – almost drew a blank.
After investigations conducted over a period of two years, Graham Carr released a report saying the missing death certificate further complicated their efforts to break the mystery as most financial institutions demanded the certificate before they could release records of Kamuzu’s bank details.
At NatWest Graham Carr dug up £17,374.83 ($26,000), while at Invesco Kamuzu Banda had held £320,015.39 ($480,000).
Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, Kamuzu’s life-long official hostess, who was at Kamuzu’s death bed when the centenarian died on 25 November 1997 at a clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, told BBC she had no idea who was keeping the death certificate.
Kamuzu was at one point estimated to be worth over $445m in cash and several millions more in fixed and disposable assets.
But Graham Carr say as at 31 August 1999, the Banda estate was estimated at $319.5m.
Kamuzu estate ranges from real estate and agriculture concerns to investments in both local and foreign companies and off-shore accounts.
Hastings Kamuzu Banda ruled Malawi from independence from Britain in 1964, until he was defeated by Bakili Muluzi dat the polls in the country’s first multi-party election 30 years later.
His rule was characterised by gross violations of human rights, with several of his opponents killed.
He died in 1997, aged about 101.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :