Parliament says it is yet to finalise processes relating to the status of Mzimba Hora legislator the Reverend Christopher Ngwira following a court ruling that declared him bankrupt.
In a brief response to The Nation questionnaire yesterday, assistant clerk of Parliament (Protocol and Public Relations) Leonard Mengezi said the National Assembly was served with a copy of the High Court ruling.
He said: “The secretariat is working on the matter and will soon finalise the processes to comply with Section 63 [1[[e] and Section 63  of the Constitution.”
In May this year, the High Court in Lilongwe declared Ngwira bankrupt after he failed to settle a $75 000 (about K55 million) debt plus accrued interest.
The legislator had reportedly purchased four pick-up trucks from Tata Zambia Limited (Malawi Branch) in 2013 valued at $75 222.06. At the time of the transaction, Ngwira was provincial governor (North) for the then governing People’s Party (PP).
In his ruling, judge Ken Manda said: “Unless the judgement debtor satisfies the judgement sum within 21 days from today [3rd May 2018], he shall stand as a person declared bankrupt.”
Section 51 (1) (d) of the Constitution provides that a person shall not be qualified to be nominated or elected as an MP if he or she is declared bankrupt under any law in force in the country.
In a separate interview, legal scholar Ngeyi Kanyongolo said there are procedures to be followed according to parliamentary standing orders.
She observed that for the Speaker to act on such a matter, there should be a motion where a legislator makes an application to move the same.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya said he could not comment on the matter because it was administrative.
Ngwira’s lawyer, Wapona Kita, who earlier stated that his client would appeal the ruling, refused to comment on the matter when asked for an update.