The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday set aside an injunction the Malawi Law Society (MLS) obtained last Friday for Khato Civils to stop all groundwork in the Salima-Lilongwe Water Supply Project.
Yesterday’s stay order, pending an appeal against the MLS injunction, means that Khato Civils is free to continue carrying out the ground works for government’s $500 million (K400 billion) water project.
Supreme Court of Appeal judge Lovemore Chikopa, sitting as a single judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, gave Khato Civils its wish, declaring that the interlocutory injunction the High Court in Zomba granted to MLS has been put aside until a further order of the Supreme Court.
Ruled the judge: “The parties shall attend this court on October 4th, 2017 at 10 hours for a hearing on whether or not to sustain the stay hereby granted. The parties are at liberty to serve on each other and this court affidavits and skeleton arguments in support of their cases…”
Zomba-based High Court judge Redson Kapindu last week dismissed Khato’s application to throw out an application filed by the Law Society for a judicial review.
The injunction the High Court granted to MLS last week meant that Khato Civils, which was contracted by the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) for the multibillion kwacha project, should stop all its activities it was already undertaking until determination of the matter after hearing of the judicial review.
MLS argues that the water project contravenes the Environmental Management Act as some procedures were not followed.
Khato Civils, a construction and engineering company headquartered in South Africa and owned by billionaire Simbi Phiri—a Malawian by parentage—joined the case as an interested party after some civil society organisations took government and LWB to court.
In its application for the judicial review, MLS put LWB, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, the director of Environmental Affairs and Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining as respondents in that order.
In May, Khato Holdings Limited unveiled to the media multi-million kwacha machinery for the construction of the pipeline from Lake Malawi in Salima to Lilongwe to ease water problems in Lilongwe, disclosing that $13 million (K9.8 billion) had already been invested. n