Malawi Parliament, through its Business Committee, has resolved to take over the case in which Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Joseph Chidanti Malunga is facing contempt of court charges issued by Transglobe Export Limited.
Deliberations were suspended Tuesday morning for an hour after lawmakers threatened not to proceed with the day’s business until the case against Chidanti Malunga is dropped from the contempt charges.
Transglobe Produce Export Limited dragged Chidanti Malunga to court after he threatened to stop the grain dealer from operating in the country over the company’s injunction stopping the implementation of this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP).
The company obtained the injunction after it was not given a contract to part of suppliers of the subsidized farm inputs.
Transglobe and Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture have been at logger heads since the grain dealer, alongside former Agriculture Minister, George Chaponda, and business person, Grace Mijiga Mhango, were implicated in the Zambia maize procurement deal.
According to the MPs, Transglobe should have dragged to court Parliament not Chidanti Malunga, claiming that he mandated by the House to issue an order against the grain dealer.
The MPs said they could not just sit and watch their fellow law maker being prosecuted for carrying out his noble duties, asking the office of the Speaker and the Business Committee to take swift action on the matter.
“Chidanti Malunga was endorsed by Members of Parliament to be the Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and made the statement on behalf of Parliament. We would like to know what is happening.
“We are here on behalf Malawians and we will always fight for them. We cannot allow Malawians to be held at ransom by some company facing corruption charges following its alleged involvement the Zambia maize procurement deal,” and Kamlepo Kalua, MP for Rumphi East Constituency.
Kalua, who was standing on a point of order, then advised Transglobe either to withdraw the case or sue Parliament.
His sentiments were seconded several MPs, including MCP’s Jessie Kabwila, forcing Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa and Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera to bang heads over the matter.
“For the time being, let us proceed with the business as we waut for the Business Committee to discuss,” said Nankhumwa.
The two sides opted for the temporal suspension of the House while seeking remedies on how best to about with the matter.
After hours of consultations, the Business Committee of the House eventually resolved to shield Chidanti Malunga by taking up the case.
Later, MPs walked back into the Chamber to continue from where they left on Monday.
Parliamentarians continued responding to President Peter Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address delivered in the House last Friday.
However, most contributors from the opposition side criticized government for failing to protect smallholder farmers from vendors in the last farming season due to the export maize ban that government imposed immediately after the harvesting period.
MP for Dowa East, Richard Chimwendo Banda, also accused government of employing politicians to manage Admarc.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :