The High Court in Blantyre on Friday condemned the Youth and Society (YAS) to costs for causing an adjournment in a high profile case of K2.7 billion policegate case and will have to pay the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Pioneer Investments (PI) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
When the case – which also involves President Peter Mutharika, a sole signatory to a DPP account held at Standard Bank that was frozen following YAS application to the court – came up for an inter partes hearing before presiding judge Jack N’riva, lawyer Lusungu Gondwe sought an adjournment on grounds that his colleague, Bright Theu, lost a brother-in-law and had also his biological father hospitalised.
In response, the DPP’ lawyer Chancy Gondwe submitted that there was lack of seriousness at the YAS and Nulu Alide for Pioneer Investment, the company that also had its National Bank account holding K1.5 billion frozen following the legal suit from YAS, ACB director Reyneck Matemba and former Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani, opposed the adjournment.
The defence lawyers said the court would be setting a bad precedent if it adjourned the case based on the reasons that Theu was not around because the law firm – Ritz Attorneys-at-Law – had more than one lawyer who could come for stand-in.
They cited the urgency of the matter and argued that doing so was causing harm to their clients whose bank accounts were frozen.
Gondwe and Alide also said they were going to accept the adjournment on one condition-to unfreeze the bank account.
Judge N’riva said he could not make a determination on the matter but only adjourn it to Monday for the substantive hearing but condemned YAS with costs for Friday’s proceedings, meaning the Mzuzu based organisation had to foot bills for the rest of the parties.
N’riva, however, observed that while he appreciated that issues of bereavement are unforeseeable, the law firm representing YAS should have identified another lawyer to take up the matter.
The judge said such cases are dependent on sworn affidavits and another lawyer could have simply taken it up.
Youth and Society sued the DPP for benefitting K145 million from Pioneer Investments whose owner, Indian business tycoon Zameer Karim, deposited K145 million into the DPP Standard Bank account whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika in the Malawi Police Service food rations deal.
In the Civil Case No.215 of 2018, DPP’s secretary general Greselder Jeffrey, Attorney General Charles Mhango are first defendants on their own behalf, Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments is second defendant while Innocent Bottoman of Police is the third defendant.
The case follows a leaked dossier from the ACB which documented that Pioneer Investments made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited K145 million into the DPP bank account No. 0140031992200 at Standard Bank.
YAS took the DPP and Pioneer Investments to court after the two failed to pay back the money, having demanded such through demand letters on July 17 2018.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :