The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal will on October 25 hear a case by two civil society organisations (CSOs) want to replace Malawi Law Society (MLS) against Khato Civil, stopping the engineering company to proceed with the $500 million (K400 billion) Salima-Lilongwe water project.
Supreme Court judge Lovemore Chikopa earlier gave Khato Civils a lifeline to continue with its activities when he dismissed the MLS case, effectively permitting Khato Civils to freely rollout the multibillion kwacha project.
But Youth and Society (YAS) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRRR), through private practice lawyer Bright Theu will face nine judges at the Supreme Court for a motiton of appeal.
If YAS and CHRR succeed in the matter, the High Court of Malawi will then determine the legality in respect to awarding the contract to Khato.
In determining the matter, justice Chikopa observed that considering that Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Khato Civils had agreed that construction works would not start without an EIA (Environment Impact Assessment), Khato had actually gone out and identified an EIA consultant.
“To begin with, a proper reading of the contract and the briefing notes shows that [Khato] had to prove capacity, including possession of requisite equipment. Possession out of Malawi would not make too much sense. There should, therefore, be nothing wrong with [Khato] bringing trenchers into Malawi. It is not evidence that they have started trenching. Or will soon start,” he observed.
Khato Civils is a construction and engineering company headquartered in South Africa and owned by billionaire Simbi Phiri a Malawian by parentage.
Simbi Phiri already unveiled to the media multi-million kwacha machinery for the construction of the pipeline from Lake Malawi in Salima to Lilongwe to ease water problems in Lilongwe, disclosing that $13 million (K9.8 billion) had already been invested.