The High Court in Mzuzu has dismissed a claim by former president and People’s Party (PP) leader Joyce Banda to reclaim a vehicle from former PP provincial chair (North), the Reverend Christopher Mzomera Ngwira.
Banda took Ngwira to court to reclaim the vehicle after Ngwira was kicked out of PP and joined the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but Ngwira insisted that Banda gave him the vehicle as a gift.
The High Court had earlier ordered the two parties to go for mediation to resolve the matter.
But Banda is reported to have been shunning mediation, having failed to show up on two occasions despite the court asking for her presence.
It is her failure to comply with a court order that has forced Judge Thomson Ligowe to dismiss Banda’s application.
According to a ruling seen by The Nation, Banda failed to show up for the second time despite the court issuing a punishment for a fine in the first boycott.
After the second boycott, the judge observed that the fine will not help matters and went ahead to dismiss the case.
“In this case, for two times the claimant has failed to attend the mediation session without a good cause. Last time, I ordered penalties to be paid but it didn’t work. I have no option today but to dismiss her claim. It is so ordered,” reads the ruling by Ligowe.
The judge also urged Banda not to bring the case before him again, but said she is free to restore the matter before another judge and will have to show good cause for having failed to attend the mediation before Ligowe.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Ngwira maintained that the vehicle in question was a gift and Banda’s failure to participate in the mediation indicates that she was not interested in the matter.
He claimed some people are behind the case and are using Banda as a shield to get the vehicle.
Ngwira said he does not have any grudge against Banda and he sees no reason why she could take him to court after presenting the car as a gift to him.
He said: “I can assure you that it is some people within the party who are not happy that Banda gave me the car. The people ganged up against me and kicked me out of the party and they started claiming that I owe the party items.
“I don’t have any grudge against her and everyone knows I was kicked out of the party by people with ill intentions and they are the same that wanted the car. If she was behind the case, she was definitely going to come for mediation.”
When called for comment, Banda’s lawyer George Kadzipatike said the claim is still valid but could not take more questions as he was driving.
In January this year, the High Court in Lilongwe declared Mzomera Ngwira bankrupt for failing to repay a K62 million debt to Tata Zambia.
Lawyers for Tata Zambia told the court that Mzomera Ngwira had in 2016 bought vehicles worth K52 million whose repairs and spares had cost K7 million and K3.2 million, respectively.
The judge heard that Ngwira was supposed to pay the money once but had not done so, even after the payment mode had been changed to monthly instalments; hence, declaring him bankrupt.
The Mzimba-Hora legislator is now a member of the governing DPP. According to the law, an elected public officer should be removed from office if declared bankrupt.