The High Court of Malawi Commercial Division has ordered Kokoliko Holdings Limited, a self-proclaimed multi-billion kwacha investment portfolio touted as an emerging conglomerate, to pay K3.1 million rental arrears to its landlord in Lilongwe.
Bina Kakusa, the proprietor of the residential house in Area 10 used as an office, dragged the firm to court in March this year demanding in excess of K3.15 million of the rental arrears for several months.
In the summons, the claimant also demanded an accrued interest of K315 142 plus at the rate of 24.4 percent per annum as well as collection charges amounting to K233 954 and costs of the court case.
In her judgement delivered on June 28, High Court Judge Charlotte Malonda ordered Kokoliko Holdings Limited to pay costs of the court case.
The judge also ordered that assessment of the costs should be done by the assistant registrar.
But Malonda did not specify the timeframe when the costs should be assessed.
Court documents show that while Kokoliko Holdings Limited was served with summons on March 15 and were supposed to file defence by April 15, the company’s lawyers filed the same on April 19.
The court found that the defence was filed and served out of the prescribed time without leave of the courts.
The court also noted that the defence did not file any sworn statements in opposition of the application let alone skeletal arguments.
Further, the court observed that the defence did not appear in court to make oral submissions; hence, the complainant filed for a default judgment in the case.
In a telephone interview yesterday, lawyer Gift Nankhuni, who represented Kokoliko Holdings Limited, said the defence accepted the court ruling and will comply in making the payments.
He said: “We are not challenging it [the court order]. Rather, we have to look for funds and pay.”
In February this year, Kokoliko Holdings Limited director Daud Suleman unveiled plans to invest $100 million (about K77 billion) in 28 projects in diverse sectors to spur economic development.
He said the diversified firm had already secured funding worth $50 million (K39 billion) from international financiers for its projects while the remaining $50 million would be raised locally through public shareholding initiatives.
But when asked on what went wrong for the firm to fail to pay its rental despite unveiling projects estimated in billions of kwacha, Suleman yesterday referred the matter back to Nankhuni, saying the lawyer was better placed to speak.
During the unveiling of the ambitious plans on the sidelines of a three-day training with cooperatives, he said the firm has formed three cooperatives, namely Kokoliko Media, which will have a radio, newspaper and an online publications; the Protgrow Cannabis to grow and process medicinal cannabis; and Kokoliko, which will implement several projects.
Suleman is on record as having said the firm hopes to help in the creation of jobs and promoting import substitution.