The High Court in Blantyre is today expected to determine whether Youth And Society (YAS) is an interested party in the case where it dragged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Pioneer Investments to court over the K145 million food rations deal.
Last week, lawyers representing DPP and Pioneer Investments, Chancy Gondwe and Frank Mbeta respectively, asked the court to dismiss the case on the basis that YAS does not have sufficient interest in it.
The two argued that according to Section 98 of the Constitution, it is only the Attorney General (AG) who has the power to sue on behalf of Malawians, a development they said shows that the civil society organisation is out of its jurisdiction.
But lawyer representing YAS, Bright Theu, argued that the AG is in a compromised situation to be a likely challenger in taking the case as he has also been sued and that he is part of the same DPP.
After hearing the arguments, High Court Judge Jack N’riva adjourned the matter to today where the court is expected to make a determination.
In the Civil Case No.215 of 2018, DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey and legal affairs director Charles Mhango are first defendants on their own behalf and members of the DPP; Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments is second defendant while Innocent Bottomani of Malawi Police Service (MPS) is the third defendant.
On the other hand, Standard Bank plc, National Bank of Malawi, director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and former Secretary to Treasury Dr Ronald Mangani are first, second, third and fourth parties cited.
The case follows a leaked ACB investigative report, which claimed that Pioneer overcharged MPS by K466 million on the basis of 20 percent exchange rate losses that were never incurred nor provided for in the contract.
Shortly after receiving the contract payment, Pioneer paid K145 million from its National Bank account into a DPP account held at Standard Bank.
YAS then took the DPP and Pioneer Investments to court after they failed to pay back the money having demanded such through demand letters on July 17 2018.
But Mutharika, speaking on taxpayer funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) Talk to the President programme on Thursday last week said he was not aware that the money may have come from the questionable payout.
Speaking for the first time since the issue came in the limelight, Mutharika said he is convinced it was an honest donation and further emphasised that it is normal the world over for individuals or firms to donate to parties.
He said at this stage, it would be imperative that the ACB continues with their investigations into the case. n