In a typical case of not all that glitters is gold, financial regulator the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) is in trouble with one of its supposed contractors over, of all things, the central bank’s alleged failure to settle a contract bill.
The contractor, DDC Designs, has been up in arms against RBM, to the extent of threatening to put RBM’s Mzuzu Branch building up for sale.
However, in the latest development, the central bank has applied for an injunction at the High Court sitting in Mzuzu, effectively stopping David Chidyaonga of DDC Designs from selling Mzuzu RBM Branch Building.
A court application that The Daily Times has seen, dated February 12 2021, asks both parties of the case to appear in court on March 11 2021.
“Let all parties attend before the judge in chambers…for hearing of an application by the claimant for an order of injunction against the defendant, prohibiting the defendant, by himself, his servants or agents or otherwise whosoever, [from] taking any steps to effect the sale process of the claimant’s Mzuzu Branch building/premises and making any form of communication to the claimant on the purported claim of sole ownership of its Mzuzu Branch and or any issues relating to the intellectual property rights in the designs of the Claimant’s Mzuzu Branch until determination of this action and further order of this court,” reads the Stop Order.
In an emailed questionnaire, RBM spokesperson Onelie Nkuna confirmed that the bank had gone to court to obtain the order.
Nkuna said, earlier, the court ruled that Chidyaonga did not hold copyright for the building.
“You may wish to note that the bank did not have a contract with DDC Designs but, rather, with a consortium called NDDC Consortium for which Mr David Chidyaonga was a member (trading as DDC designs),” Nkuna said.
In 2006, the central bank engaged NDDC Consortium to design and supervise construction of its Mzuzu Branch.
Nkuna claimed that, upon completion of the project, the bank settled its account in full with NDDC Consortium.
According to the Stop Order, the sworn statement of George Chioza will be read in support of the application.
DDC Designs was the supervising architect of Mzuzu RBM Branch.
Chidyaonga was part of NDDC Consortium—a team of project consultants comprising architects and surveyors.
The K18.4 billion RBM Mzuzu Branch was opened in 2016 by former president Peter Mutharika.