Transglobe Produce Export Limited and one of its directors, Rashid Tayub, have taken the Malawi Government to court claiming compensation for loss of business and false imprisonment, court records indicate.
With the Attorney General (AG) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as defendants in the case, Transglobe and Tayub are demanding compensation in excess of K30 billion, according to The Nation sources.
But the AG intends to hang the ACB to dry. Yesterday the AG’s Chambers filed an application to the court to be removed from the case on the basis that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was not part of the prosecution.
The High Court is set to rule on the AG’s application on October 1 2018.
Yesterday, lawyer representing Transglobe and Tayub, Mwayi Banda, confirmed that the legal firm Ritz Attorneys at Law is suing the AG and the ACB following Zomba chief resident magistrate Paul Chiotcha’s ruling in March this year that Tayub had no case to answer on corruption allegations.
Tayub was arrested in July 2017 and charged with persuading a public officer to perform his functions corruptly contrary to Section 25A (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) after he was implicated in the maize import scandal where former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda was suspected to have flouted procedures when the country wanted to buy 100 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.
Court documents filed by Ritz Attorneys at Law, which The Nation has seen, show that Tayub accused government of unlawfully and maliciously imprisoning him and depriving him of liberty.
In the affidavits, the applicant also claims that government acted with malice and lacked reasonable causes by arresting Tayub after failing to make proper investigations, arresting without prior investigations to establish suspicion and prosecuting despite absence of any reasonable cause.
Reads the application: “By reasons of the matter aforementioned, the first claimant [Tayub] has suffered loss and damage, including loss of liberty, injury to his reputation, inconvenience to his business and professional career and subjected to degrading treatment while in custody.”
Transglobe, on the other hand, has filed a claim against the ACB, accusing the graft-busting body of mounting false and malicious investigations in the absence of reasonable suspicion, failure to prosecute for any offence even after humiliating investigations; that the company was not involved in any criminal conduct; and that the ACB insisted on prosecuting Tayub despite knowing that Transglobe was suffering huge losses and damages as a result of the investigations.
In the application, Transglobe has listed the loss of business as unprecedented, including sudden revenue downturn, being blacklisted in business by government agencies and non-governmental organisations and the recalling of banking and loan facilities the company had with Nedbank (Malawi) Limited, National Bank of Malawi plc and FDH Bank Limited who demanded immediate repayment of the loans.
Banda said in an interview the recall of loans was a direct loss to the company as it was forced to repay the loans before their due date.
He said: “The company experienced dwindling business opportunity. A lot of contracts were withdrawn and the image of the company was associated with criminal activities.”
But Banda could not disclose the amount of money the company was demanding from the government, saying the law firm intends to hire auditors to come up with the actual damage after going through the cancelled contracts.
A well-placed source has said the figure—based on preliminary estimates—is set to top K30billion.
In the High Court in Blantyre yesterday, State counsel Owen Chuma asked the court to remove the AG as a party to the case because the DPP did not take part in the prosecution of the Tayub and Chaponda case.
But Banda said the defence lawyers opposed the AG’s request and the court will make a decision on the AG’s application on October 1 2018.
AG Charles Mhango said he was in a meeting when The Nation contacted him, but his immediate predecessor, Kalekeni Kaphale, said it was normal for the AG to apply for removal because the ACB has a separate legal personality.