High Court registry in Mzuzu has granted an injunction to three civil society organisations who applied for a judicial review of President Peter Mutharika’s decision not to suspend Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda to pave way for smooth investigations on maizegate.
Private citizen Charles Kajoloweka, the Church and Society Program of the CCAP Livingstonia Synod, Centre for the Development of People and Youth and Society filed the eight ground lawsuit at Mzuzu High Court.
Their action follows Mutharika’s appointment of a commission of inquiry into the allegation sof corruption and malpractices into the Zambian maize procurement saga..
Kajoloweka and the others argue that failure by Mutharika to fire Chaponda will compromise the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry on maizegate as a line Cabinet minister, he may interefere with the investigations.
Justice John Chirwa grated the injunction on Thursday, effectively suspending Chaponda from cabinet and allowing a judicial review as the CSOs argue that Mutharika erred in his choice of commission of inquiry.
Chaponda, who will be served with court papers on Thursday, faces contempt of court charges and possible arrest if he does not duly complied with the High Court order.
“The Court also granted leave to proceed with case in the form of a judicial review,” said Wesley Mwafulirwa, the CSOs Counsel from John Tennyson and Associates.
Chaponda refused to resign whilst Mutharika developed cold feet to kickout the political “bulldozer” merely on allegations and speculation.
The board of director of State-produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has since sent on forced leave chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe who is accused with Chapoda of suspicious dealings in the way they bought the 100000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.
Both Chaponda and Mulumbe deny any wrong doing.
Anti Corruption Bureau is also probing the engagement of a privately-owned Zambian company Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited which purportedly played the role of middleman in the maize import deal.
The Zambian company has since reportedly dragged Admarc to court for breach of contract, having already done so with the Zambia Cooperative Federation over similar charges.
Admarc reportedly paid about K26 billion which government borrowed from the PTA Bank for the purchase of the maize which is about K9.5 billion more than the estimated K15 billion it could have paid had it bought the maize directly from the Zambian Government.
However, both Chaponda and Mulumbe have said no money has been paid so far.
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