Mulanje-based Chitakale Plantations Company Limited risks closure following a petition for its winding up over alleged failure to pay K21 million (about $84 000) in legal fees and compensation.
Documents filed in the High Courtâ€™s Commercial Division in Blantyre under case number five of 2012 show that Mary Woodworth and Lisineti Gremu have made the petition following the companyâ€™s inability to pay its debts. The two have articulated their reasons in a petition.
Reads part of the June 19 2012 petition: â€œIn the foregoing circumstances, the company is, for all intents and purposes, insolvent and unable to pay its debts and your petitioners believe that it is for this reason it has sought every possible excuses, including suppression of established facts for not performing according to the dictates of the court judgement in a matter taken out at its instance and in respect of judgement debts in the civil cause number 30 of 2008.
â€œThat given the foregoing evident inability to satisfy its debts and the continuing unsecured expenses incurred by the company against your petitioners, it is just and equitable the creature of statute comprised in the company be wound upâ€.
Chitakale Plantations was involved in a land dispute with Woodworth and Gremu in a case subsequently won by the two defendants. The plaintiff was ordered by the Supreme Court of Malawi and High Court to pay legal fees to the women amounting to K18 158 850.05 (about $72 635) and K 3 million (about $12 000) outstanding assessed damages.
Part of the womenâ€™s arguments in the petition state that from the time of the awards mentioned, in a series of ex-parte summons for stay of execution and on occasional ordered inter-parte summons for stay of execution, the company has made at least 10 attempts to avoid enforcement.
They also claim that according to the companyâ€™s instruments of incorporation, its share capital is K10 000 divided into 10 000 shares of K1 each.
Woodworth and Gremu further argue that lawyer for Chitakale Plantations, Lusungu Gondwe, stated under oath that the company was not able to pay sheriff fees calculated at K2.8 million due to its financial condition when the sheriff visited the company and executed for the judgement debt on May 23 2012.
In November 2009, the High Court in Blantyre evicted Chitakale Plantations from a piece of land the company claimed to own. The court ordered it to pull down structures it put up on the disputed land and compensate the bona fide owners, Woodworth and Gremu, for damaged crops.