The Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in Mzuzu has ordered Mzuzu University (Mzuni) to pay 12 Mzuni FC players K32 310 000 for breach of contract.
The court’s registrar Lawrence Mtchera delivered the judgement on June 7.
The players took the public university to court in April this year following an announcement by the institution that it had withdrawn its support to the team which joined the country’s elite league in 2005.
The players claimed termination payments, gratuity and repatriation, training allowances, salaries and game bonuses.
The university did not file a defence to the court and as a result, the case went into default judgment.
Meanwhile, the court has ordered sheriffs to impound assets at the university to recover the amount.
Reads in part the order: “I command you of the goods and chatters of Mzuzu University within your jurisdiction you cause to be recovered the sum of K32 310 000 and also interest on it at the rate of percentage per from the five percent day of June 7 2019 the date judgment or decision was made before me in the Industrial Relations Court of Malawi in [a] matter where Suzyo Mwakasinga and 11 others is applicant and Mzuzu University is the respondent.
“I further command you to recover cost in the judgement mentioned and certain other costs. You should execute this writ in [a] manner that is allowed by law and immediately after execution, bring the money before my court.”
Reacting to the development, Mzuni registrar James Kwilimbe said the university is not the respondent in the case.
“Actually, the court summon was wrongly addressed to the university office instead of Mzuni FC executive. Of course, we have forwarded it to Mzuni FC management who are the respondent. It is sad that the university is still being associated with the team’s affairs when we stopped sponsoring it sometime back,” he said.
On his part, Mzuni FC general secretary Donnex Chilongo said it is surprising that the university office is not accepting the owners hipof the team.
“The team was owned by the University. As a committee, we were just running it on their behalf. Everyone is aware of that. The university is the respondent in the case,” he said.
Commenting on the court outcome, Mzuni FC captain Lughano Kayira, who is also among the 12 players, said they are not surprised with the judgement because the claims they presented at the court were genuine.
“That was what we expected, our claims were genuine. We have all the supporting documents. Meanwhile, we are struggling financially and we need the money.
“As explained earlier, the university management has been quiet on the issue of our dues. We tried to remind them several times, but they have been uncooperative. “We, therefore, could not do otherwise but to seek justice with support from Malawi Congress of Trade Union [MCTU] office in Mzuzu,” he said.