The Sherriff of Malawi on May 3 pounced on the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and took away four operational vehicles for failure to pay compensation to some of former employees, who were unfairly dismissed.
Court records indicate that the Industrial Relations Court on May 3 2017, in a case number 239 of 2009, ordered Escom to pay K85 680 000 to K. Kaphamthengo and 23 others as compensation for unfair dismissals.
But, according to Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula, Escom did not comply with the court ruling which made the court to issue a warrant of execution for the seizure of the vehicles.
Said Mvula: “When the judge made the ruling, Escom was supposed to comply with the court order. But after a reasonable period, the plaintiffs petitioned the court, which issued the warrant for sheriffs to seize the property.”
The development comes months after the split between Escom responsible for transmission and distribution and Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) which now handles the power generation sector in the country.
But Escom said on Thursday appealed against the decision.
According to Escom public relations officer (PRO) George Mituka, the statutory body denies having disobeyed a court ruling when it forced sheriffs to impound its vehicles.
“Escom has not failed to honour the ruling. As is the case in all legal matters, it is imperative that the defendant be satisfied with the ruling and that the judgement should be commensurate with the facts at hand. The corporation is of the view in the matter at hand, that the position (judgement) needs to be reviewed. Therefore, Escom has consequently filed for an appeal to this effect,” he said.
Mituka, however, conceded that the vehicles were indeed seized, but indicated that Escom was in the process of recovering them.
He added: “Escom is contending that the execution is irregular and has, therefore, appealed to the High Court. We have filed for a stay of execution, and have been ordered to pay sheriff fees; upon payment of this, the seized vehicles will be released. When Escom succeeds in the claim that the execution was irregular, then the paid amount will be refunded to Escom.”
During the announcement of the unbundling of Escom last year, spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Ayam Maeresa said the split would not negatively affect the operations of either entity. n