Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Muluzi, Kalaria Tussle Over Companies

Bakili Muluzi fighting with a Malawian of Asian origin over companies. He has several other cases that he is also answering in the courts of Law including fraud and corruption.

By Rex Chikoko

Former President Bakili Muluzi has dragged his former business partner and manager Pramod Kalaria to court over failure to complete payment for Muluzi’s shares worth K350 million in companies the two jointly owned, Malawi News can reveal.

Kalaria, a Lilongwe-based businessman was Muluzi’s equal partner and manger on several companies including Nationwide Marketing Services Limited, Nthawi Investments Limited, Rocksizer Mining Compant Limited, Rare Earth Mining Company Limited and Chitsime Drilling Company Limited.

Sworn affidavits in case number 3 of 2011 which were filed at Commercial Court in Blantyre, show that Muluzi had asked Kalaria to buy all the shares in all their companies after Kalaria had allegedly failed to account on how the companies were being run on Muluzi’s behalf.

The Court records indicate Muluzi dragged Kalaria to court when the latter stopped paying Muluzi as per agreement of sale of shares which was drawn on May 21, 2010.

The agreement indicates that the payment would be made in 16 months starting from May 21, 2010 to June 30,2011. But the agreement was only signed by Muluzi. Kalaria only agreed and signed to follow the schedule for payment.

“I have agreed with this Agreement and I will sign on Monday 24th May, 2010,” endorsed Kalaria below the schedule of payment and signed.

Kalaria’s main contention in a sworn affidavit is that Muluzi forced him to agree on the buying of the shares. He also argues that Nthawi Investments Limited, whose shares Muluzi claimed to own was already sold to Kalaria’s wife by Muluzi’s late brother Friday Muluzi.

In a case before Justice Michael Mtambo, Nthawi Investments Limited has petitioned Liwonde Properties Limited – owned by Kalaria – to stop it from winding up one company, Malawi Fertilizer Company, in which Nthawi Investments Limited had shares.

Witnesses in the case include Atupele Muluzi who was collecting money from Kalaria, Tiyesi Chigambawho was one of the shareholders of Nthawi Investments Limited, Christos and Dimitri Giannakis, Ishmail Chioko and a Mr. Baisi.

Chioko argues in his affidavit that Kalaria was unable to manage various companies on behalf of Muluzi family. “Kalaria offers to buy shares of companies he failed to account. The initial amount was K750 million, the amount was reduced to K500 million. Dr Muluzi accepted the last offer of K350 million since he was sick and wanted the money for medical bills,” reads the affidavit in part.

But while Kalaria agreed to buy all Muluzi’s shares in all the companies, the two jointly owned, argued that Muluzi’s shares in Nthawi Investments Limited were sold to Pushpa Pramod Patel on July 7,2005 by his late brother, Friday. Muluzi refuses to buy this position and claims that at that time Friday had relinquished his shares to Muluzi.

In his affidavit Kalaria describes the affidavits of Chioko, Muluzi and Baisi as a pathetic attempt to mislead the court into believing that he (Kalaria) is dishonest. He says the affidavits were irrelevant to the issues in the case because they relate to dealings concerning Rocksizer Mining Contractors Limited and Chitsime Drilling Company Limited which have nothing to do with Nthawi Investments Limited.

“Completely false and misguided in so far as they suggest that in 2010 I negotiated or agreed to purchase from Dr Muluzi any shares in Nthawi Investments Limited or any interests of Nthawi Investments Limited, in Nationwide Marketing Services Limited, Liwonde Property Investments Limited and Rare Earth Company Limited.

“Dr Muluzi did not have any direct or indirect interest in Nthawi Investments Limited and the companies in which Nthawi Investments Limited had interest after Mr. Friday Muluzi sold his shares in Nthawi Investments Limited to Pushpa Patel on 7th July, 2005. Dr. Muluzi could not sell what he did not have,” argues Kalaria.

Kalaria further argues the affidavits are of no consequence in so far as they question the adequacy of the consideration by which Pushpa Patel got Friday Muluzi’s shares in NIL. He says the purchase price was freely agreed upon by the parties based on their own valuation of the shares. The affidavit indicates that Kalaria in 2010 purchased 200,000 shares in Rocksizer from the former President Dr. Muluzi at K20 million and 400,000 shares in Chitsime Drilling Company Limited at K50 million from Mrs. Anne Muluzi.

“Contrary to the baseless allegations of Messrs Chioko and Muluzi, I did not send the share transfer forms to Dr. Muluzi in South Africa. The share transfer forms were collected by Messrs Chioko and Muluzi from my office on 24th May 20…..and were only returned to me by Atupele Muluzi in an envelope from America, duly signed by
Dr. Muluzi and Mrs Muluzi, respectively,” Kalaria said.

He said he refused to sign the alleged agreement and give a report because the meeting which he was summoned to on My 7,2010 by Dr Muluzi did not make sense because Dr. Muluzi and his family no longer had any interest in some of the entities including Rare Earth Company Limited and Chipiku Stores. He added that at a subsequent meeting on May 21,2010, Dr. Muluzi, Atupele and Chioko demanded that he buys Dr. Muluzi’s interest in several companies including Nthawi Investments Limited and its interest in other companies at K750 million.

This was bizarre because Dr. Muluzi no longer had any direct or indirect interest in Nthawi Investments Limited and there was no basis for setting the price for his or his family’s interest in other companies and I rejected this.

“Muluzi then without any basis lowered the price to K500 million and then K350 million and threatened that I was not going to be released from his house unless I signed the BCA draft agreement which Mr. Chioko drafted there and then. When I insisted that I could not sign the BCA draft agreement, I was detained for seven hours and told that I had to sign the BCA draft agreement and would only be released if I made an immediate payment of K10 million.

“I was also told, and this was confirmed by telephone calls from my office, that Dr. Muluzi’s men, including Mr. Baisi had surrounded my workplace in Lilongwe. They were intimidating my family and workers and threatening to drive away 20 vehicles belonging to Chitsime Drilling Company Limited unless I signed the agreement at Dr. Muluzi’s house.”

“I was only released after my workers in Lilongwe had collected K10 million from daily sales in various businesses and delivered it in cash to Mr. Baisi and I succumbed to the duress and promised to sign the BCA draft agreement by endorsing the schedule to the said agreement” he said.

According to the affidavits, Kalaria did not sign the new agreement because he did not agree with the price of K350 million.

The case is coming before the court on May 19, 2011-Malawi News

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Joyce Banda bribes Blantyre Synod

Malawi Vice President and 2014 Presidential aspirant Joyce Ntila Banda has engaged an extra gear in her quest to rise to the country's top job.

Banda, using her inlaw Rev. Macdonald Kadawati has bribed senior clerks in Malawi's second largest christian church, the Church of Central African Presbyterian.

Kadawati is married to a sister of Vice President Joyce Banda.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Speaker defends MPs on flag modification

Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda says there was no fault in the flag bill.

By Suzgo Khunga

The Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda says there was ample debate on the protected names and emblems amendments bill and that all procedures were followed which upon approval has changed the national flag.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lilongwe, Chimunthu Banda said the opposition fully participated in the debate on the bill to modify the flag only that they walked out during voting.

“The contribution from the opposition was there, just not in support of the motion on the floor. They were just absent during voting,” he said. The speaker said it was not the first time for the public to gang up against actions of MPs in Parliament but his feeling was that they were entitled to their opinions.

The final quarter of the last sitting of Parliament was characterized by boycotts from the opposition following the swift passing of the K297 billion budgets but also speedy passing of bills in the House.

MPs completed the committee of supply stage within two half day sessions and would sometimes pass bills in less than two hours which the opposition UDF and MCP protested and boycotted voting in the house. Chimunthu Banda said it was normal for MPs to boycott Parliament proceedings but this should not be encouraged because a full House was necessary to conduct business in Parliament.

On the speedy passing of votes during the committee of supply, which several commentators condemned, Chimunthu Banda said ordinarily, the process was a one day affair but it was taking long in the previous Parliament because opposition was in majority.

“There was nothing extraordinary about it. The committee of supply stage was made to become a one week exercise because of the majority of the opposition in the house,” he said.

Chimunthu Banda, however, declined to comment on other controversies which have characterized Parliament such as the ouster of Abele Kayembe as leader of opposition and reinstatement of John Tembo.

He said absenteeism in Parliament was common in the last sitting because of poor communication between the party whips and the office of the Speaker.

“We would have wanted representation of MPs to be 100 per cent but those who were not in the chamber had valid reasons. The weakness is that whips had no offices so once they occupy those offices, I am optimistic there will be swift communication between these offices,” he said.

The speaker also disclosed that the National Assembly would give laptops to each MP within the financial year but they would start with training of MPs on the use of ICTs-Daily Times.

Bakili Muluzi happy with top award

Former president Bakili Muluzi says he is happy to have been honoured.

By Mc Donald Chapalapata

Former President Bakili Muluzi has said he is elated by the highest national award of Most Excellent Grand Commander of the Malawi Order of National Achievement conferred upon him during independence cerebrations on Tuesday.

Muluzi said in a telephone interview from Cape Town, South Africa where he is getting medical attention that he was happy with the honour.

“I feel greatly honoured. When I received communication from the Secretary to the President Bright Msaka on Sunday informing me of the honour, I was naturally very happy,” said Muluzi who sounded jovial.

“I want to thank the President and Government for recognizing me with this honour. I will cherish this for the rest of my life,” added Muluzi.

The former President said he feels that the honour is a ‘collective achievement’ for the attainment of multiparty democracy in the country.

“The fight against one party rule was not a one man show. Millions supported me and the late Chakufwa Chihana. We should also not forget the Catholic Bishops and other religious organizations that helped us to fight for change. It is as collective honour but one man had to get it and it was me,” he said.

Muluzi missed out on the awards during their inception last year. His son Atupele received the award on his behalf-The Daily Times.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CCAP's Livingstonia Synod joins politics

By Diana Liabuba

The Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP says it will support formation of any party that would champion the views it is propagating and use the region as its base.

This comes in the wake of reports that some politicians from the region are planning to register a political party.

“As a synod, we will always talk of politics. We are here to monitor issues affecting people and would advocate any ideas that would enhance political development in any form be it formulation of a new party,” said the synod’s general secretary Rev. Maurice Munthali.

He said that the synod would only play an advisory role to those forming the new party.

Munthali said the church sees no problem with the party having its base in the northern region, adding that this does not mean that the party is regional.

He said problems would arise if the new party was made personal as the aim of those political platforms is to represent people that follow it not serve individuals.

“I am actually happy that people have noticed how much we are putting efforts in issues affecting northern region. It is not being regionalistic but rather domestic because there is no way we can start speaking of regions when we know that charity begins at home,” said Munthali

“We are only beginning here because we are the type of people that vote for any party without looking at its base,” he said

Attempts to have a party with a strong following in the northern region come at the time that the Alliance for Democracy (Aford), which in the early 1990s commanded a huge following in the region, has been losing ground.

Recently there have been numerous attempts to mobilize people in the North to rally one political grouping but such have not yet borne the much needed fruits.

Some people in the region believe that northern region needs a strong political party and the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP has expressed willingness to help formation of such a party-The Daily Times.

Thyolo man kills girlfriend over affair

By Eliah Nthara

Police in Thyolo have arrested a man for allegedly assaulting his wife to death after she discovered that he had an affair with another woman.

Thyolo Police spokesperson, Edith Msesa , comfirmed the arrest of Wellosi Wanja, 36, ofNkhuna Village, T/A Liwonde in Machinga, who allegedly killedhis wife, Violet, 32, of Mbelula Village, T/A Mchilamwela in Thyolo.

According to Msesa, the incident happened last Friday when the deceased, who has been married to Wanja for 14 years, discover that her husband was in a love affair with another woman from the same village.

This angered the wife who confronted the suspected girlfriend. In the heat of things, the two women started fighting.

The news of the fight reached the husband who rushed to his girlfriend’s house and beat his wife severely,” said Msesa.

She said because of the beating, the woman collapsed.

According to Msesa, the deceased was taken to Thyolo District Hosipital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

“Post-mortem results indicated that the woman died due to serious injuries,” she said.
Msesa said are looking for the girlfriend who is on the run.

Wanja has been charged with murder-The Nation

Opposition UDF party dragged to court

By Wezzie Nkhoma-Somba

The United Democratic Front (UDF) Blantyre Urban Committee has dragged the former ruling party to High Court for dissolving the committee and imposing K2, 000 nomination fee for the candidates in the party’s forthcoming district elections without approval the National Executive Committee.

According to court documents dated July 1, 2010, the committee through Watson Malindi, is asking the court to order and declare whether the party’s national working committee had the powers to dissolve the Blantyre UDF Urban District Committee or merely to make its recommendations to NEC and whether the defendants were justified in dissolving the said committee under article 32 of UDF’s Constitution.

Malindi is also asking the court to declare whether the said district committee could be dissolved without being accorded the rules of natural justice under article 32 of the UDF constitution by the district committee and whether UDF’s national working committee has power if any to dissolve the Blantyre Urban Committee in the absence of proof of any contraventions of the UDF constitution.

The Blantyre district committee is also asking the court to declare whether UDF, s National working committee has the power to impose K2, 000.00 fee for candidates in UDF District Elections without approval of NEC.

UDF Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala confirmed to The Nation early last week about the K2,000 nomination fee, saying it is enshrined in the UDF constitution and that the money will not go into the party coffers but rather will be given back to district for the day to day running of the structures.

However, UDF Task Force National coordinator Ken Msonda said that the issue of nomination fee was discriminatory and retrogressive and that it may be a political move aimed at frustrating other aspirants within the party.

UDF spokesperson Rob Jamieson wondered where Malindi was coming from saying he does not appear anywhere as a member of UDF.

Jamieson explained that UDF NEC has mandate to make any decisions on behalf of the party.

Commenting on the issue of dissolving district committees UDF Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala said that it is a positive move that will help in rebuilding the party as it tries to reclaim its the lost glory. He further said that this development is long overdue as the party has gone a long time without holding elections.

Meanwhile, in a statement Makwangwala has stressed that the party has sections within its constitution that provide for collection of nomination fees from its members particularly those that voluntarily elect to take part in a leadership contest.

“The nomination fees that are subject of the statement are meant to help the party undertake logistical preparations to facilitate the holding of the elections of office-bearers of the districts committees and such other committees. Suffice to indicate that the remainder of the money collected shall be allocated to the incoming district committees as a starter-pack with which to kick-start their political operations,” he said.

Makwangwala added: “The present modus operandi is such that the National Headquarters or senior members of the NEC provide financial assistance to districts committee to meet the cost of funerals, treatment of sick members, payment of various donations or, indeed, for holding party meetings. This practice is becoming unattainable during these difficult economic times as the party has a large membership. The party has to break with some practices of the past that are difficult to sustain.”

He said the issue of nomination fee is provided for in the UDF constitution as amended in 2008 and the subject has been thoroughly discussed with members.

Makwangwala explained that to remove discrimination that might arise due to some serious contenders’ failure to secure nomination fees.“The party has included a proviso that allows eligible leaders proven without means to ask for exemption where individuals are not able to source nomination fees to take part in the electoral process,” he said in a statement dated July 2-The Daily Times