Sheriffs have closed down AHL Group’s subsidiary company AHCX Commodities Exchange over a K2 billion debt but the action has opened a pandora’s box on some ‘suspicious’ court orders and executions.
The Sheriffs action to close down AHCX head office in Lilongwe last week comes hot on the wheels of another crackdown on one of the commercial banks FDH Bank in Blantyre over a court order execution of about K785 million.
Nyasa Times can reveal that the two cases involve the same lawyer, judge and an accessor of damages, a High Court assistant Registrar and this has raised eyebrows of foul play.
Private practice lawyer Frank Mbeta has been taking his cases to one judge and one judge only, Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda of the High Court and the assessment of damages are being done one none other than Simeon Mdeza, Assistant Registrar of the High Court.
The execution of the orders is what has raised alarm and caught the attention of graft bursting body the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
After getting a ruling from Kenyatta, Mdeza is always handy to do the assessment of damages and before the offending party is given time to either pay the adjudged amount, Mbeta is always on time to get a warrant of execution and set the Sheriffs on the leash.
Nyasa Times can reveal that in civil cause number 374 of 2015 where Oil and Protein Company Limited which is demanding K1, 861, 358, 126.25 and UDS 171,000 (K123, 120, 000) from AHL Commodities Exchange which was handled by Justice Nyirenda, Mbeta rushed to get a warrant of execution soon after the assessment of damages and the Sheriffs moved in to close down AHL Commodities Exchange Head Office in Lilongwe without being given chance for negotiation of payment.
It is also true of another civil cause number 384 of 2014 where Maranatha Girls academy is demanding a total of K784, 830, 909.16 from FDH Bank for loss of business.
Nyasa Times can also reveal that in this case too, Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda presided over it and the assessment of damages was done by Mdeza and the lawyer for Maranatha was Mbeta.
In this case too, after getting the judgment and assessment of damages, Mbeta got a warrant of execution and again leashed the Sheriffs to pounce on FDH Bank.
Ironically, Mdeza set an appeal hearing brought in by FDH Bank lawyers challenging the assessment of damages at 2pm a day after delivering his ruling on the assessment of damages.
But our investigations have found out that before Mdeza could hear the case at 2pm that day, Mbeta went to him and made him sign a warrant of execution at 8am on the same day for a matter he was expected to hear both sides at 2pm. The Sheriffs pounced on FDH Bank at 9 am, an hour after the signing of the warrant of execution.
Insiders at the High Court confided in us that the way the two cases have been handled have raised eyebrows and caught the attention of ACB.
Nyasa Times investigations have also found that the Sheriffs fees in the AHL Commodities Exchange case was a whopping K200 million while in the Maranatha/FDH case is K117 million.
We have also found out that this money does not go to government account number one as all other government revenue.
“I understand Mbeta is demanding 30% of the K2 billion in the AHL Commodities Exchange case and another 30% of K785 million in the Maranatha/FDH case. Maybe that is how he used underhand tactics to get the money, there is too much money involved here,” said one legal practitioner.
Most legal practitioners Nyasa Times spoke to expressed surprise in the way Mbeta handled the two cases describing it ‘the tort way of litigation’.
Insiders also said Anti Corruption Bureau is following up on the issue and has already taken statements from some of the lawyers involved in the cases.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :