Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia is expected to appear in court today for contempt of court for allegedly failing to comply with a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order.
Chiumia, alongside Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama, are scheduled to appear before the High Court in Blantyre after the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal earlier in September 2016 granted leave a local firm, Africa Commercial Agency to move for contempt of court against the two.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed in an interview on Monday that the matter is coming in court today before Justice Healy Potani for inter-partes hearing for committal to prison.
But Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, whose chamber is defending the two, said in an interview on Monday they may approach the court to seek an adjournment because their lawyer handling the matter was away.
The initial appearance of the two was supposed to take place on January 27, but they did not because Kaphale was in Mzuzu where he was representing Agriculture minister George Chaponda, who was also facing a contempt of court charge.
Lawyer for Africa Commercial Agency, Lusungu Gondwe, also confirmed in an interview Monday that the court is scheduled to hear their application to commit the two to prison for contempt of court.
In an earlier interview after Chiumia and Kachama failed to appear before the court, Kaphale said he was aware about that matter but was unable to attend to it because of the Mzuzu matter.
Chiumia and Kachama risked to be jailed for failing to comply with the court order which Supreme Court judge Lovemore Chikopa gave on August 23 2016, ordering the two to undertake some steps within 21 days to facilitate movement of goods—police uniforms—from Mozambique to Malawi, duty free.
The applicant, Africa Commercial Agency, entered into a contract with Malawi government to supply uniforms for Malawi Police Service (MPS) according to the court record.
Azery Minyalira and Richmond Nyasulu swore an affidavit on behalf of the private company, African Commercial Agency.
The court learnt that African Commercial Agency has over years been delivering the goods to MPS. The procedure, according to them, was that when the goods were required, the Quartermaster would indicate the quantum and nature to the company.
The applicant then would make the goods available, invoice MPS and would be paid accordingly. The goods were brought into Malawi duty free and it was the duty of MPS to facilitate the duty free importation.
The court learnt that it had been the case until this time when according to the applicant, they imported some goods from China and being brought into Malawi through Mozambique.
As it was, the court learnt, MPS was supposed to facilitate duty free importation and Police wrote Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) in a letter dated August 24 2015 asking for duty waiver, and MRA granted the waiver.
But the consignment, which was loaded in two containers, coincided with lack of peace in Mozambique last year and new procedures were introduced by Mozambican authorities and they demanded documentation from their Malawian counterparts certifying that the goods were indeed intended for use by the MPS. n