The High Court in Blantyre has dismissed an appeal by State mouthpiece the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) seeking a freeze on compensation to its former director general Bright Malopa for unfair dismissal.
In his ruling, High Court assistant registrar Simeon Mdeza said: “The action [by MBC] is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.”
MBC’s appeal followed an Industrial Relations Court (IRC) ruling in December 2013 that awarded Malopa K62.5 million (about $156 000) after he successfully sued for unfair dismissal. He obtained a garnishee order on MBC accounts and a settlement arrangement was made to start paying the money.
However, after making the first instalment, MBC appealed the matter.
In its argument, MBC said its company secretary, Dan Kalaya, through whom the settlement was arranged, did not have authority to negotiate and execute consent order on its behalf.
But in his response, Malopa’s lawyer Patrick Mpaka wondered why MBC started paying his client if Kalaya had no authority to represent it in the transaction.
Said Mpaka: “MBC satisfied clause 1.1 of the order by paying K15 528 800.95. The satisfaction of the consent order [payment] was with approval of management which Mr. Hamilton Chimala is a member. Payment was signed by financial controller J. Kamwachale and approved by its chief executive officer [director general] Dr Benson Tembo.”
The court agreed with Mpaka and threw away MBC’s argument.
In December, after The Nation broke the story, Minister of Information and Civic Education Brown Mpinganjira expressed surprise that MBC was making the payment without challenging it.
Reacting to the High Court ruling on Wednesday, Malopa said: “I wonder what they [government] will say this time. May be they will say I was fired by TB Joshua, but even if they take the matter to the Hague, nothing will change because at the end of the day, I was fired by third parties who were alien to my contract.”