LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-A Lilongwe-based businessman has lost a filling station worth about MK2.5 billion for pushing someone to settle his debt amounting to MK1.5 million.
The victim, of what a legal mind calls strange court judgement, Geleson Mkweza, has been left with so many questions and suspicion with the court’s decision which favoured his debtor.
Mkweza ran a filling station at Kanengo in Lilongwe under the name Gam Fuels LTD.
A court order in our possession shows that in August 2020 Alfred Gangata, another businessperson, got fuel on credit from Gam Fuels LTD amounting to MK1, 500,000 meant for heavy equipment machines with a promise that the bill would be settled by with a week.
Court records indicate that Gangata couldn’t pay for over six months forcing Mkweza to take away keys from a construction motor vehicle belonging to Gangata.
Gangata sued Mkweza for loss of business and profits because he was unable to use the motor vehicle in question.
Gangata was demanding about MK1 billion for lost of business and profits.
High Court Judge Ken Manda granted Gangata his wish but the reduced the sought amount to MK747 million.
In his judgement, dated June 29, 2022, justice Manda argued that by confiscating the motor vehicle keys the defendant took the law in his own hand when he had the right to commence legal action.
“What surprises this court most is that the 1st defendant (Mkweza) is so adamant that he had the right to confiscate the machinery. He did not have that right.
“His conduct in doing so, coupled with the fact that he does not deny confiscating the keys of the claimaint’s machinery, makes the claimaint’s application for judgement on admission succeed” reads the judgement.
Disatisfied with the court’s decision Mkweza applied for a stay of the judgment ex parte but the court ordered that it should be inter parties.
Again dissatisfied with this direction, Mkweza, through his lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, applied to the Supreme Court for stay of the lower court decision but the application was rejected – consequently allowing for enforcement of the earlier judgement.
“What was more surprising is the speed at which things have happened. I mean on the same day after the Supreme Court issued it’s determination, sherrifs closed the filling station and notified the owner that it up for sale and a buyer had already been identified” said the source who is well informed about this issue.
“I have closed the filling station ‘Gam Fuels LTD’ pending the selling of the same by private treaty as per the order of the court” reads the notice dated July 21, 2022 from Assistant Sheriff identified as Mwale.
Meanwhile Bishop Simama has already deposited a cheque worth MK610 million to buy a Filling Station which include shops and offices valued at MK2.5 billion to settle a claim of about MK747 million.
In an interview one of the legal practitioners, who refused to be named, also described this as strange:
“It is true that Mkweza may have overreacted to grab the keys but surely the court should have been more reasonable and lenient.
“Here is someone who makes MK3 million per day for drilling boreholes but couldn’t pay a debt amounting to MK1.5 million? And then, Mkweza should have been given time; the confiscating of the filling station is rather quick; did they value it at that amount? Who did the valuation? Was the owner involved? This , somehow, raises questions” said the lawyer.