The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has given State-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and Mulli Brothers Limited (MBL) Holdings 14 days to re-evaluate the latter’s properties put up for sale by the bank.
The court also vacated an interim injunction obtained by MBL Holdings stopping MSB from advertising or selling the collateral securities.
The interim injunction was valid up to yesterday when the Supreme Court, presided over by a single appeal judge Dunstain Mwaungulu, heard both parties in the matter in his chamber.
After the interpartes hearing yesterday, Mwaungulu adjourned the matter to June 18 2015 for both parties to prepare thoroughly.
Private practice lawyer Chancy Gondwe, who is representing MBL Holdings in the case, confirmed the development in an interview.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said yesterday, upon looking at the whole case, the judge used parts One, Two and Three of the Civil Procedure Rules of 1998 which give him powers to exercise intelligence or judicial knowledge to seek more information from parties in a matter.
He said: “That has been done for the two parties to bring all the necessary information regarding the case so that he [judge] uses his discretion to weigh or come up with the process of hearing.”
Mvula also said the judge gave the two parties 14 days to re-evaluate MBL Holdings properties for him to weigh how much they are worth.
“The idea is to know whether the properties are worth the loan that MBL obtained from MSB or it is higher or lower than what the bank is owed.
“That information will also help the judge to exercise his powers intelligently and justly before he determines the matter in terms of evaluation of the properties’ put up for sale,” he said.
Two weeks ago, MSB put up for sale properties belonging to MBL Holdings in a bid to recover about K3.3 billion (US$7.3 million) outstanding debt.
But MBL Holdings sought an interim injunction on May 26, stopping MSB senior management, including chief executive officer Ian Bonongwe, head of credit George Sibale, company secretary Videlia Mluwira and head of corporate banking Ted Chanza from disposing of the assets.
When the court met last week, it rejected an application by MBL Holdings to commit to prison Bonongwe, Mluwira, Sibale and Chanza for allegedly defying a court order.
MSB and MBL Holdings have, over the years, been engaged in a dispute over the loan amount recovery which the bank puts at K4 969 043 316.93. MBL Holdings contends that the figure is exaggerated.