The High Court in Blantyre on Monday dismissed Youth And Society (YAS) , saying it has no sufficient interest to pursue the case where it dragged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Pioneer Investments to court over the K145 million food rations deal.
The ruling comes after the Mzuzu-based YA, through lawyer Bright Theu, obtained a court order freezing bank accounts for DPP and Zameer Karim proprietor of Pioneer Investments, who allegedly benefited from fraudulent transactions in the contract.
But delivering his determination, High Court Judge Jack N’riva said the contract of food rations was between Police and Piooner Investment.
The court agreed with arguments by lawyers representing DPP and Pioneer Investments, Chancy Gondwe and Frank Mbeta respectively, that YAS does not have sufficient interest in it and the case has to be dismissed.
The two argued that according to Section 98 of the Constitution, it is only the Attorney General (AG) who has the power to sue on behalf of Malawians, a development they said shows that the civil society organisation is out of its jurisdiction.
But lawyer representing YAS, Bright Theu, argued that the AG is in a compromised situation to be a likely challenger in taking the case as he has also been sued and that he is part of the same DPP.
Theu has therefore applied for leave to appeal which was granted and that the ruling be set aside until the ruling is heard, meaning the bank accounts which were frozen will remain in that state pending appeal.
In the Civil Case No.215 of 2018, DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey and legal affairs director Charles Mhango are first defendants on their own behalf and members of the DPP; Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments is second defendant while Innocent Bottomani of Malawi Police Service (MPS) is the third defendant.
On the other hand, Standard Bank plc, National Bank of Malawi, director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and former Secretary to Treasury Dr Ronald Mangani are first, second, third and fourth parties cited.
Malawi’s CSO YAS loses MK145m DPP-Malawi Police food rations scam
The case follows a leaked Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigative report, which claimed that Pioneer overcharged MPS by MK466 million on the basis of 20 percent exchange rate losses that were never incurred nor provided for in the contract.
Shortly after receiving the contract payment, Pioneer paid K145 million from its National Bank account into a DPP account held at Standard Bank.
YAS then took the DPP and Pioneer Investments to court after they failed to pay back the money having demanded such through demand letters on July 17 2018.
But President Peter Mutharika , speaking on taxpayer funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC)
Talk to the President programme last week said he was not aware that the money may have come from the questionable payout.
The Malawi leader said he is convinced it was an honest donation and further emphasised that it is normal the world over for individuals or firms to donate to parties.