Despite the ongoing court case, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) pounced on the residence of its beleaguered deputy director general Francis Bisika and confiscated his official vehicle and other items.
Macra security personnel, accompanied by armed police officers, invaded Bisika’s residence at Namiwawa in Blantyre on Easter Saturday afternoon for the mission.
Bisika’s lawyer Chancy Gondwe confirmed the development in an interview yesterday, describing the communications regulator’s action as unfortunate.
Besides the vehicle, Gondwe said the security agents went away with K280 000 cash which was in the vehicle’s glove compartment.
He said the action to confiscate the car was done without any court order mandating Macra to carry out the operation.
“Ask yourself as to why Macra is confiscating Mr Bisika’s motor vehicle despite the existence of a court injunction.
“As lawyers, we shall take all steps permissible under the law to make Macra officials accountable through the committal process that we filed with the court,” said Gondwe.
When contacted on his mobile phone, Macra director general Godfrey Itaye declined to comment on the matter, referring The Nation to communications manager Clara Mwafulirwa who did not pick up her phone.
On his part, Macra lawyer Madalitso Mmeta also said he could not comment on the issue as he was “attending to other crucial matters in Mulanje.”
But sources at Macra told The Nation that Bisika was advised to surrender the vehicle, a Toyota Prado registration BU 9900 but he did not do so because of the ongoing court battle.
Bisika has been fighting Macra through the courts since November last year after the body terminated his contract barely two weeks of its renewal by the board.
Three weeks ago, High Court Judge Jack N’riva ordered the authority to reinstate its deputy director general within 72 hours, failing which three top officials—Itaye and director of legal services Dan Chiwoni and former board chair Mervis Mangulenje would be jailed for contempt of court.
However, the regulator has failed to comply with the court order.
But Gondwe said such defiance only happens when “you have institutions headed by individuals who think and believe they are above the law”.
“It only happens in countries where there is a complete breakdown of the rule of the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, the country’s civil society organisations (CSOs) are organising mass demonstrations on April 29 on various national issues which include Macra’s defiance and discriminatory regulation of broadcasters.