The Supreme Court has upheld a High Court ruling last year that declared governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Mzimba Hora legislator Christopher Mzomera Ngwira bankrupt.
The ruling, made last Friday by Justice Rezine M z i ka m a n d a o f t h e Supreme Court of Malawi, upheld a ruling the High Court in Lilongwe made on May 30 2018 after the defendant failed to pay money owed to TATA Zambia by May 25 2018.
Ngwira’s lawyer Wapona Kita has since said his client will appeal the ruling.
Court documents The Nation had seen at Commercial Court show that Ngwira bought four pick-up trucks from TATA Zambia Limited (Malawi Branch) in 2013 valued at $75 222.06 (about K57 million).
However, the same High Court (Commercial Division) cleared him of the charge, saying there were anomalies on the matter.
But TATA Zambia appealed to the Supreme Court and also made an application to have the bankruptcy order restored.
Mzikamanda upheld the bankruptcy order against Ngwira until the matter is heard.
“In the result, I grant the application for stay of execution of the order that discharged the bankruptcy order in this matter pending determination of the appeal. The applicant gets the costs,” reads the ruling in part.
The upholding of bankruptcy declaration has an implication on Ngwira’s political career as he is the DPP candidate for Mzimba Hora in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) regulations stipulate that no one shall qualify for nomination to contest in the election of MP if the person is bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in the Republic.
Reacting to the order, Ngwira said he respected the judge’s decision on the matter, saying the judge based the order on facts that were given in court.
He said he does not dispute that he owes TATA Zambia, but said he started repaying the debt and it was his commitment that he should finish paying it.
“It is a straightforward issue, but some people just want to take advantage of it to fight me. You know elections are approaching and people want to fight me through this case. They want that I should not contest in the elections. You know my political journey has been full of fights, people trying to bring me down.
“The court is only doing its job and I cannot blame the judge for anything. If the actual matter was to be decided today, I would win the case, but the challenge that is there now is that the actual matter will take time. So some people are taking advantage of that so that I should not contest, but God is there and is fighting for me,” said Ngwira. n