The High Court in Lilongwe has ruled that Mighty Wanderers breached a contractual agreement with American firm, Nsejjere Sports and Casual Wear.
Judge Ken Manda has since ordered the Nomads to pay Nsejjere damages equivalent to the value of 20 000 T-shirts at $10 each for the seven-year duration of the contract (about K528 million at K377 to the dollar).
anda also directed the club to pay costs for the legal action.
Lawyer Moses Nkhono of Lincoln Edwards and Company, who represented Nsejjere, said he was satisfied with the ruling. He said justice had prevailed.
“We are happy with the ruling. What we need to do now is to enforce it so that our client can be compensated,” he said.
On October 11, 2012, Nsejjere sued Wanderers Football Club, seeking damages in excess of $1.5 million (about K480 million) for breach of contract.
Court documents we have seen, which are not indicating the amount Nkhono cited, show that Wanderers breached an exclusive written agreement in or around May 2012 when they failed or ignored to use Nsejjere products opting for Puma products without informing Nsejjere as per the contract which the two parties signed on April 2 2010.
“Wanderers [defendant] signed a contract with Nsejjere [plaintiff] on April 2 2011 in which they agreed to enter into an exclusive supply agreement with the American firm where Nsejjere agreed to supply custom branding and commercialising products, which included, but not limited to, all sports apparel, accessories, headwear, footwear, flags, scarves, balls and other promotional items as well as service and Wanderers agreed to be bound by the terms of the agreement,” reads the statement of claim.
It further reads that Wanderers undertook to exclusively use the products supplied by Nsejjere to brand, promote and commercialise the club.
The club also agreed to order a minimum quantity of at least 20 000 T-shirts at a price of $12 per T-shirt or a combination of items totalling a monetary value of 200 000 T-shirts at the said quoted price per shirt.
Nkhono said it was an express term of the agreement that Wanderers FC would never use any other competitor’s products which may be a substitute to the products supplied by Nsejjere during a seven-year period during which the exclusive supply agreement between the two parties would subsist.
It was also agreed that Wanderers should inform Nsejjere should any competitor make an approach.
The court documents reveal that despite being aware of the contractual obligation to Nsejjere, Wanderers went ahead to use Puma products, a competitor.
Mighty Wanderers were represented by their general secretary David Kanyenda who is a practising lawyer.
However, when contacted to find out the club’s next move, Kanyenda said they will react once served with the court order.
“We have not been served with any court order…if any adverse order has been entered in our absence, we undertake to take appropriate remedial measures through the Judiciary,” he said.
But in a letter of June 15 2012, signed by Kanyenda, addressed to Nsejjere chairperson Isaac Nsejjere, Wanderers said they did not admit the existence of the alleged “Exclusive Supply Agreement”.
Nsejjere country director Jacob Chikoya expressed joy, but was quick to point out that they have no malicious intentions against Wanderers.
“We have no intention to kill Wanderers. We just wanted clubs to honour their contracts and operate professionally. In fact, the whole purpose of the sponsorship was to help empower Wanderers financially,” he said.