K585m claim against mogul withdrawn

Lawyers representing Youth and Society (YAS) have withdrawn a matter against businessperson Abdul Karim, whom they were asking to reimburse K585 million to government.

The Mzuzu-based civil society organisation (CSO) in a letter dated August 8 2018 asked Karim, through Ritz Attorneys-at-Law, to reimburse government K585 million he allegedly received fraudulently from Malawi Police Service (MPS) for procuring and delivering goods to the security agency.

Advised YAS to withdraw the matter: Gondwe

Lawyer Bright Theu, a partner at Ritz Attorneys-at-Law, was representing YAS in the matter.

But in a twist of events, Lusungu Gondwe, a managing partner at Ritz Attorneys-at-Law, in a letter dated August 10 2018, informed lawyers representing Karim, Nampota and Company, that they had advised their client, YAS, that the matter be withdrawn forthwith.

Gondwe was reacting to a demand from Nampota and Company contained in a letter also dated August 10 2018, which asked for withdrawal of the YAS claim unconditionally.

In another letter from Gondwe to YAS executive director, also dated August 10 2018, the lawyer informs the organisation that it was going to be “extremely difficult to maintain proceedings against Karim”, advising that the matter be withdrawn, unless they give further compelling evidence.

Gondwe, in the letter, informs YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka that Messrs Nampota and Company informed him that the National Audit Office (NAO) carried out a verification in 2012 and confirmed that their client, Karim, performed the contract.

Alexius Nampota, representing Karim, wrote Ritz Attorneys-at-Law earlier on Friday, that their client’s claims for payment were withheld by government for many years.

“The payments were withheld on the same allegations that have come in your client’s letter. Following the above allegations, National Audit carried out a verification exercise in 2012.

“The verification exercise disclosed that our client duly perfumed its contracts and the payments claimed were legitimate. There was no over claim from our client. We enclose herewith an audit report dated 30th August 2012 for ease of your reference,” reads Nampota’s letter, in part.

Nampota furthers says, in the letter, the office of the Inspector General of Police proceeded to confirm that MPS received their client’s goods and confirmed the sums payable to their client as at May 30 2014. He also enclosed the letter from police.

He said YAS had no legitimate basis to pursue the matter, challenging that even if the action was commenced, it would be statute barred. He is demanding a response within 14 hours, from Friday.

In their initial letter, YAS had argued that Karim knowingly received the money from the Malawi Government through MPS under Procurement and Distribution of Police Uniforms in the 2001/2002 and 2004/2005 fiscal years.

It claimed the money was obtained through invoicing for goods never supplied to MPS, excess charges, overpayments and returned goods whose invoices were not reversed.

YAS is also pursuing a matter in which it asked the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to repay K145 million deposited in its Standard Bank account by Pioneer Investments Limited.

DPP has committed to repay Pioneer Investments, but YAS is arguing that the money be paid back to government, not Pioneer Investments.

Pioneer Investments had a questionable food rations contract with MPS, whose payment coincided with their depositing K145 million in the DPP account, whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika; hence the suspicion that the said money was proceeds of corruption.

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