The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has put aside a ruling by the High Court ordering the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to refund $269 970 (about K185 million) to a Pakistani national, Muhammad Jawad.
The Blantyre-based businessperson was found in possession of $269 970 concealed in his travelling bag last August as he was about to fly to Dubai through Chileka Airport in Blantyre.
Jawad was arrested and ultimately charged with illegal possession of foreign currency and money laundering.
He pleaded guilty to illegal possession of the money but not the money laundering charge.
And in April, the High Court ordered RBM to pay him back the money for unlawful arrest but the bank did not honour the order.
The development forced the businessperson to apply to the court to have RBM Governor Charles Chuka and two of his senior managers committed to prison for contempt of court.
However, the central bank obtained an order staying the High Court’s decision pending an inter partes hearing on RBM’s application for stay of execution of judgement.
On Wednesday, the parties met in Supreme Court Judge Jane Ansah’s chambers, where RBM presented its argument for application for stay of execution of the judgment pending appeal.
In its arguments, RBM said the High Court erred in making the order, which had the effect of rewarding the convict for the crimes he committed.
According to court documents, among other grounds for its appeal, RBM said the decision by the High Court judge was against settled legal principles and a misdirection in law.
Further, RBM argued: “The decision of the judge was wrongful, irregular and illegal.”
However, in an interview Lusungu Gondwe, lawyer representing Jawad, said he had no objection to the appellants application.
“We did not oppose the application because we did not find it necessary to, so the order will subsist until the conclusion of the appeal. Thus, we did not file any documents,” he said.
In a separate interview, RBM lawyer Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda also confirmed after the application that the respondent did not make any objection to our application and “what this means is that the money will not be refunded until the appeal is concluded.”
Ansah then granted the stay for application of judgment pending determination of the filed appeal.