Outspoken chairman of the Parliamentary committee on Agriculture Joseph Chidanti Malunga committee has been slapped with a contempt of court charge for advocating that Transglobe Limited should be banned from conducting business in the country following an injunction stopping the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) programme.
Transglobe lawyers applied before High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda to have the parliamentarian jailed for undermining the independence of the judiciary which is currently handling the injunction case.
Transglobe were forced to get an injunction against the implementation of the Fisp programme when they were left out of the programme because one of its directors is currently facing corruption charges over the procurement of maize in Zambia alongside former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda.
Justice Kenyatta issued the injunction on October 20, 2017.
Chidanti gave Transglobe 48 hours to withdraw the injunction or he was going to force the company not to do any business on the country.
According to court records we have seen, Transglobe are contending that Chidanti as well aware of the injunction which Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda gave and his comments ‘clearly neglected or ignored the value of the independence of the judiciary’.
“On 20th October, 2017 His Lordship Honourable Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda by an Order for Stay, stayed the Decision of the Defendants distributing coupons to all and any suppliers under the Farm Input Subsidy Programme [FISP] and implementing or conducting any activities under the said FISP [the Order].
“The Alleged Contemnor is aware of the Order and has made prejudicial statements bent on interfering with the administration of justice herein.”
” The Alleged Contemnor has clearly neglected or ignored the value of the independence of the judiciary. He tends to undermine the power of the Courts. He incites indignation in the minds of the nation. This is not in good keeping with administration of justice,” reads part of the court papers for the application of the contempt of court.
Transglobe is asking the High Court for an order of committal or b) An order of sequestration or An order of payment of fine and imprisonment in default and finding contempt of Court of the Alleged Contemnor.
If Chidanti is found guilty, he could lose his parliamentary seat and could also be jailed.
The 2017/18 Fisp coupon distribution exercise was recently rolled out in Mchinji. Each beneficiary will get a coupon to access two bags of fertiliser and certified seed through selected agro-dealers across the country.
Fisp is a taxpayer-funded initiative that makes available farm inputs—hybrid maize seed, legumes and fertiliser—to poor smallholder farmers at subsidised rates to boost household food security.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :