The High Court in Blantyre has ordered Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) to stop collecting any type of fee from minibuses within Blantyre City.
The court has also declared that Moam’s act of erecting barriers of any kind or blocking any road or parking place for use in, or using any other means of collecting or levying toll fees or any other fee or charge relating to minibus parking, entry, exiting, movement or related activities is illegal, on the premise that it does not have any basis on doing so.
The ruling by High Court Judge Rowland Mbvundula yesterday follows a court case involving Clifford Mbuluma of K and N Consult and Blantyre City Council (BCC) in which they took Moam to court over disputes relating to collection of fees and levies at Mibawa Minibus Terminal and other places within the city of Blantyre.
According to court documents, Mbuluma entered into a contract with the council that empowered him to manage traffic services, remedy defects in such services and collect parking fees on all vehicles using the area in the city referred to as “Lot 5”.
Under the contract, Mbuluma was bound to pay the council a monthly sum of K2 293 200 for the Blantyre zone street parking area where he was subjected to operate.
However, all along, Moam has been collecting toll fees from minibuses in car parks and minibus terminals in the area that was covered by the contract and in other parts of the city.
“His efforts in engaging the defendants [Moam] in the matter have been unsuccessful. The city council advances the position that since they have not, by agreement as provided for under Section Schedule to the Act, or otherwise, delegated to the defendants the power to levy tolls and fees, the defendants [Moam] have been and are acting illegally,” reads in part the ruling.
But delivering his ruling, Mbvundula has issued an order of permanent injunction restraining Moam or their employees from erecting barriers, blocking roads, or using any means available in a bid to collect or levy toll fees or any related fee towards minibuses.
The case has been in court since 2016 when the same court also issued an order stopping Moam and its agents from collecting or levying toll fees on minibuses.