BY OSWARD KAYANGE
The High Court in Mzuzu has sustained the injunction obtained by civil society organisations (CSOs) restraining Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda from executing his duties, until investigations into the alleged fraudulent purchasing of maize from Zambia are concluded.
The CSOs—Youth and Society (YAS), Church and Society Programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia and Centre for Development of People (Cedep)— had appled for a judicial reiew following President Peter Mutharika’s decision not to suspend Chaponda when he appointed a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption and malpractices in the maize import deal between State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and a Zambian company.
Earlier this month, Justice John Chirwa suspended Chaponda to pave way for investigations on the Zambia maize import transaction.
In sustaining the injunction that leaves Chaponda suspended, Justice Chirwa pointed out that the Courts have “jurisdiction over all matters including Executive decisions.”
Justice Chirwa also ruled that CSOs have “sufficient interest” to litigate on the maizegate scandal and including all matters of public interest.
The court agreed with Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale that he should not included as party to the case and has been removed which means President Mutharika and Chaponda remain as the only respondents in the Civil Case No. 1 of 2017. .
Meanwhile, CSOs through lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa have also filed for contempt of court against Chaponda for sneaking out of the country to Germany despitefor official duties despite an order from the court.