Civil society organisations (CSOs), which obtained a court order stopping Minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda executing his duties, yesterday presented a letter to Speaker Richard Msowoya notifying him of the matter.
A letter The Nation has seen dated February 6 2017 and signed by Centre for Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence on behalf of all the CSOs notified the Speaker about the development.
Reads the letter: “On behalf of CSOs and Charles Kajoloweka, we write to bring to your attention the order of the High Court on the above subject as entered in Mzuzu High Court on 12th January 2017.
“It is our considered view that as a House of laws, you will respect the order and will not allow the subject to abuse laws of Malawi through his conduct and actions while dealing with Parliament.”
Confirming the development in a telephone interview yesterday, Trapence said the CSOs delivered the letter to the office of the Speaker through his personal assistants.
He also indicated that they delivered a copy to the leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
Efforts to talk to Parliament’s chief public relations officer Leonard Mengezi for comment, proved futile as he did not pick our calls despite several attempts.
However, Chaponda was also not present at Parliament yesterday.
On Monday during the first day of the 2016/2017 Mid-Year Budget Review, Msowoya failed to explain Chaponda’s whereabouts, stating that he had not received communication from either government or the High Court in Mzuzu regarding the status of the Leader of the House.
The development follows an injunction the High Court in Mzuzu granted the CSOs—Cedep, Youth and Society (YAS) and Church and Society Programme of CCAP Synod of Livingstonia which restrains Chaponda from executing his duties until a commission of inquiry appointed by President Peter Mutharika to probe allegations of fraud and corruption in the purchase of maize from Zambia finalises its assignment.
On January 1 2017, President Mutharika appointed a commission of inquiry to probe matters involving the procurement of maize by Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) from the Republic of Zambia.
Initially, the commission was expected to report back its findings on January 31 2017, but barely days to January 31, Mutharika granted it an extension of seven days meaning that it will submit its report tomorrow, January 9 2017.
The State tried to challenge the injunction, but last week the application to vacate the injunction was rebuffed by the High Court in Mzuzu. n