The High Court in Blantyre has ordered National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc to freeze Pioneer Investments (PI) Limited bank account over its alleged link to the K2.7 billion Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations scandal.
The court also issued a fresh freeze order for governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bank account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika. PI transferred to the DPP account K145 million from the MPS payment which State House has defended as a donation from a well-wisher to a DPP headquarters building project.
Court documents The Nation has seen show that High Court Judge Jack N’riva, following an application made by Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) through Ritz Attorneys-at-Law, has also set aside an inter partes hearing of the freezing orders on August 3 2018.
Reads the judgement: “Until further order of the court, the second defendant by himself or his officers or agents or anyone acting on his behalf must not remove, or in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the funds standing to the credit of Pioneer Investment in account number 0001 0006 87029 held with the second party cited to the extent of K1 500 000 000.00.
“Until, further order of the court, the second party cited should not
transact any disposal, transfer, dissipation or howsoever termed the first defendants’ funds held in the count stated above.”
In the civil case No.215 of 2018, DPP secretary general Grezeldar Jeffrey and legal affairs director Charles Mhango are first defendants
on their own behalf and that of members of the DPP, Zameer Karim of PI is second defendant while Innocent Bottoman of MPS is the third defendant.
Standard Bank plc, NBM plc, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general and former Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani are first, second, third and fourth parties cited, respectively.
The case follows a leaked ACB investigation report which documented that PI made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited K145 million into the DPP bank account number 0140031992200 at Standard Bank.
The court issued a fresh order for the freezing of the DPP account at Standard Bank after it transpired that the first order made on Friday had an error on the account number for the party.
YAS took DPP and PI to court after they failed to pay back the money, having demanded such through demand letters on July 17 2018.
In its demand letter to DPP, YAS argued that the governing party is in no doubt aware that the said money represents proceeds of a fraudulent sham procurement by officers at MPS in conjunction with Karim of PI.
In the letter to PI, YAS asked the company to refund the principal sum of K466 million plus compound interest at the prevailing commercial bank lending rates from the date of receipt to the date of repay of the money.
DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, after the first order on Friday, wondered why “other people would want to take duties and responsibilities of other constitutionally instituted bodies to act on their behalf”.
Lawyer representing YAS, Bright Theu, on the other hand, said he was happy that their prayers have been granted by the court.