The Supreme Court of Malawi in Blantyre has overturned the High Court’s earlier ruling that Youth And Society (YAS) did not have sufficient interest in the K145 million food rations deal.
YAS executive Director Charles Kajoloweka confirmed the development with Nyasa Times on Friday
Mzuzu-based civil society organisation (CSO)dragged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Pioneer Investments to court and freezing their bank accounts linked to the K2.7 billion police food rations deal.
Lawyers representing DPP and Pioneer, Frank Mbeta and Chancy Gondwe, had argued in court that YAS was out of its jurisdiction as it has no power to sue on behalf Malawians as Section 98 of the Constitution stipulates that it is only the Attorney General (AG) that has such powers.
But on his part, Theu argued that the AG was in a compromised situation as he is a member of the governing DPP and he is also a party in the case.
Making his ruling on the matter, Justice Rezine Mzikamanda of the Supreme Court of Appeal stayed the decision of the High Court entirely, meaning the case that was dismissed remains intact pending determination of the appeal on whether YAS has locus standi or not.
Lawyer for YAS, Doreen Manjandimo of Ritz Attorneys at Law said following Mzikamanda’s ruling, the two accounts for Pioneer Investment and DPP remain frozen.
“One application was for stay of execution that was made by YAS. Basically, it was to stay the execution of the judgement of N’riva that discharged the freezing orders that were obtained. On that, the Judge has allowed for a stay to be obtained on the same. This means the accounts for the respondents are still frozen”.
YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka said his institution will fight to the end until Malawians get the truth and justice on the matter.
“Pushing the caravan of accountability is no longer an option,” he said.
Immediately after the High Court ruling by Judge Jack N’riva in August dismissing the CSO in the case on the basis that it has no sufficient interest and cannot sue on behalf of Malawians, governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that every Malawian of goodwill had “sufficient interest” in the K145 million saga as the issue bordered on tax payers money.
“The High Court ruling does not in any way clear President Peter Mutharika in the K145 million saga. It is only question YAS as having no sufficient interest in the case – a verdict which is debatable if precedence and public interest are to be brought into equation. YAS is justified to consider appealing the High Court determination. Otherwise, every Malawian of goodwill has sufficient interest to protect tax payers money from executive thieves”, said Munthali as quoted in Nyasa Times of 21 August 2018
Munthali further said that even if the court were to clear Mutharika of any wrong doing in the case, this would not manage to change public perception on Mutharika as being the beneficiary of K145 million by virtue of being a sole signatory.
“In fact, Mutharika – just as was the case with [George] Chaponda – was already convicted in the court of public opinion, and it would be difficult for Mutharika and DPP to change public perception on the matter. For no doubt – just as cashgate cost Joyce Banda in 2014 elections – the K145 million may be an electoral issue with potential to weaken Mutharika’s chances of winning 2019 elections” , Munthali told Nyasa Times.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :