The High Court in Lilongwe has ordered Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) to reconnect water to MCP’s headquarters at City Centre, eight months after supply was disconnected on allegations of illegal connection.
The mandatory injunction, which we have seen, has been issued by Judge Charles Mkandawire following an application by MCP’s secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka.
The order compels LWB to reconnect water pending the determination of the court after an interparty hearing.
Last November, LWB disconnected its supply to the MCP building on allegations that it uncovered an illegal connection in form of a bypass before the boards meter which, attracted a penalty of about K109 million.
In a letter dated November 23 2017, signed by LWB chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni, the board accused MCP of illegal connection and gave them a week to pay the penalty.
“Please note that these costs are expected to be paid within 7 days from the receipt of this letter failure of which will leave us with no option but to refer this matter to our attorney, and the Police for criminal proceedings,” reads part of the letter.
But MCP is opposed to this charge. In his submission to the court, MCP secretary general Mkaka said LWB and party officials had a joint inspection of the building on November 27 2017, four days after receiving the notice of disconnection from the board, where no illegal connection was detected.
“The defendant [LWB] confirmed that there was no illegal connection in form of a bypass before the meter supplying water to our premises. It was our understanding that water supply would be connected upon payment of the outstanding water bill in the sum of K6.8 million…we finished paying the outstanding water bill on 27th June, 2018.
“By a letter dated 5th July 2018, the defendant’s lawyers refused to reconnect water supply and insisted on the payment of the sum of K109 million,” reads part of Mkaka’s sworn statement in the High Court’s record.
MCP, in its submission to the court, also alleged that LWB has failed to show evidence of illegal connection at their premise instead the board came up with a fresh allegation that the occupants of the building were drawing water from a fire hydrant in a letter dated May 11 2018.
“Further, the defendant has not formally advised us about the alleged illegal drawing of water from the fire hydrant and continues to rely on the withdrawn penalty of the illegal connection in form of a bypass as a basis for not reconnecting water supply to the premises,” further reads the submission.
The inconvenience of disconnected water at MCP headquarters was strongly felt during the party’s convention when sections of the building anchoring toilets was infested with repugnant smell which permeated the surrounding, to the discomfort of a number of delegates.
In its submission to the court, MCP has expressed concern that the continued lack of water at their main building was compromising hygiene and people’s health. n