Businessman Abdul Karim Batatwala cited business magnate Leston Mulli injunction against rights activist Charles Kajoloweka, restraining him from commenting on the companies’ K8 billion claim case against government as an authority to back his “gagging order” against Nation Publications Limited (MPL) from publishing any story in its titles- The Nation, Weekend Nation and Nation on Sunday – on the K53 billion claim at the Immigration Department.
Karim and his two–Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company-signed a K9 billion contract in March 2012 for uniforms they never supplied for five years only to raise the contract sum to K53 billion in 2017 – a sum which has the Immigration Department is protesting.
NPL and Nyasa Times have been reporting on the matter which has been christened as ‘Uniform-gate’.
But the supplier feels the publication of the stories are depicting him as “corrupt and fraudukent” and obtaining a restriction order stopping further reporting.
In a sworn-affidavid by private practice lawyer Clement Masauko Mwala, the businessman cited Mulli and and his two companies—Sunrise Pharmaceuticals and Chombe Foods Limited—who obtained an injunction against rights activist Charles Kajoloweka, restraining him from commenting on the companies’ K8 billion claim case against government.
He cited the Civil Case Number 262 of 2018, in which Kajoloweka and the Registered Trustees of Youth and Society (YAS), an organisation he leads, were gagged.
Mulli had gagged Kajoloweka and YAS from making any publication on social media, the radio, television, press release or in whatsoever manner in relation the claimants, the Judiciary and the Attorney General in relation to the ongoing claims in High Court of Malawi Principal Registry civil cause number 747 of 2012 between Sunrise Pharmaceutical Limited and Chombe Foods Limited vs The Attorney General pending the determination of the said matter by the court or until a further order of the court.
NPL’s Deputy Chief Executive Office Alfred Ntonga said the newspaper will “follow through the legal process” following the gagging order.
In a statement released by government spokesperson Henry Mussa, who is also Minister of Information, made available to Nyasa Times, said the authorities have noted the concerns relating to K53billion claim as “genuine”, saying authorities are therefore working tirelessly to protect the national interests.
The government spokesman also pointed out that the State is “vehemently opposing and challenging” the said claim in the courts of law.