…court to hear the matter on May 30
…govt agencies prepare to harass Fryson Chodzi
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda was clearly in a foul mood after the High Court (Commercial Division) adjourned the hearing of a case in which Fryson Chodzi of Forum for National Development (FND) obtained an injunction stopping the National Bank of Malawi and NBS Bank from lending the Malawi Government K105 billion.
Insiders who are aware of the panic the injunction has caused within the higher corridors of power say Chakaka Nyirenda’s visible desperation to have the injunction vacated reflects the sense of urgency of those expected to benefit from the K105 billion.
The panic and anger has also been reported to have engulfed the Presidency as it was still not clear if President Lazarus Chakwera has already signed the April 6, 2023, Loan Authorisation Bill into law after it was bulldozed into the National Assembly.
The Investigator Magazine has meanwhile received a report that Government agencies are moving towards harassing Chodzi. We have been informed a letter from Malawi Revenue Authority is being prepared to demand taxes from him. This could be a sign that he has rattled some sensitive matter senior government officials would want not exposed. We will continue to update this story.
The Bill was posted online at 9.40 pm a day before being tabled around 10 am despite the larger protests that it lacks transparency and the fundamental change in financing mode from the contractor finding the funds to asking debt-ridden Malawians to borrow on behalf of a private company.
Appearing on Wednesday morning before Justice Ken Manda, the AG wanted the court to dismiss the matter on several grounds, a quest supported by the contractor’s legal team led by Chancy Gondwe and the Banks lawyers Lester Mwantisi and Tisume Mwaungulu.
Chodzi lawyer Edgar Kachere prayed that the matter be adjourned to comply with court rules that two clear days should be provided to the applicants for them to study documents related to the case.
The Judge who heard the matter in chambers agreed with Chodzi’s lawyers and asked the lawyers for their availability. None were available on alternative dates that Justice Manda set May 30 as a day he will dispose of all the matters.
Justice Manda ordered Chodzi to file all documents by Monday 22nd of May and the defendants by Thursday 25th of May with a full hearing on the injunction and requests to be removed from the case by the Banks also dealt with on May 30.
Chakaka Nyirenda is reported to have attempted to apply for a stay on the adjournment which the Judge advised him to do a written application and dates will be allocated for such a hearing.
It will be seen if the Government or Khato Civils will file, as part of its documents the contract which has been hidden from the public since 2016. The contract could reveal what Malawi Government officials committed to Khato and be tested if it meets public interests.