Taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) through the High Court Sheriffs pounced on privately owned media institution, Joy Media Group and seized a vehicle over unpaid debt of K4.5 million.
The Sheriffs seized the vehicle Toyota Rav4; paralyzing operations of both Joy Radio and Television, as the media grouping owned by former President Bakili Muluzi has been failing to pay MBC agreed tower-sharing fees accumulated to K5.1 million- including Sheriffs charges.
Joy Media Group uses MBC towers in Dowa for central region coverage at a fee; and due to financial constraints, the company has been failing to pay the money the development that forced the major media institution in the country to engage Sheriffs to force payment.
This is not first time Joy Media group has been hit by Sheriffs, in October last year a Joy Radio Station was seized after its manager, Lloyd Zawanda failed to pay libel damages amounting to K5 million.
Zawanda was in 2014 dragged to court by former Peoples Party (PP) Secretary General, Henry Chibwana over defamatory remarks he made in one of Joy Radio’s ‘press review’ programmes.
In the programme, Zawanda is reported to have claimed that Chibwana fraudulently bought his girlfriend a house from Malawi House Corporation (MHC). He even challenged to have had documents to substantiate his claim.
The matter was once referred to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) who ordered Zawanda to apologize but Chibwana did not buy it, instead, he commenced legal action.
Zawanda was sued in his personal capacity but has been trying to involve the radio station in the case. In its first ruling, the court had ordered him to pay K12 million in libel damages but the amount was reduced to K5 million after negotiations.