High Court judge Kenyatta Nyirenda has ruled in favour of government to proceed with the controversial sale of State-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) but the MSB employees, through their lawyer Lusungu Gondwe, have said they will consider an appeal against the ruling.
MSB employees obtained an injuction stopping Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC)to complete the sale to the only bidder, FDH Financial Holdings Limited of Thomas Mpinganjira whom the opposition has said is a “ crony” of President Peter Mutharika and view the sale as corruption deal.
But the Attorney General’s (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale contested the injucntion and applied for the discharge of an order that was granted allowing judicial review of the decision to sell the bank.
Kaphale argued that the judicial review the employees were seeking were frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court because under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act, there is absolutely no need, in the case of a divestiture, for the particular business sector to be identified in the Act as a key priority area, as was argued by the applicants.
“Under the Public Finance Management Act, the decision to divest only needs Cabinet approval and not parliamentary approval. Under the Public Finance Management Act, there is no requirement for parliamentary approval before a decision to divest is made and carried out and failure by the minister to give annual reports of the performance of a statutory body does not prevent the implementation of a divestiture decision,” argued Kaphale.
Judge Nyirenda vacated an injunction arguing the employees had no locus standi (sufficient interest) in government’s decision.
“In the final analysis, the court rules that the leave that was granted herein cannot stand. It is, accordingly discharged.
“The upshot of the court’s ruling is that there is no basis for the sustenance of the order obtained by the applicants staying the challenged decision. Consequently, the order staying the challenged decision is also hereby discharged,” said Nyirenda in his ruling delivered on April 30 2015 .
Meanwhile, Malawians under the banner of ‘Concerned Citizens’ will this Friday demonstrate and petition Speaker of Parliament in Lilongwe over the impending sale of MSB and the unpopular government’s move to clear toxic loans totalling K6 billion owed to the bank by private sector players.
Billy Mayaya, one of the organisers, said they want Parliament to investigate a scenario similar to Cashgate—the systematic plunder of billions of kwacha from Treasury.
The demonstrators would gather around Area 18 Roundabout and proceed to the Capital Hotel Roundabout and make a U-turn up to the National Assembly where a petition will be read out and handed over to the Speaker, Richard Msowoya.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :