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Court rebuffs Nocma

EASE FUEL MOVEMENT—Tankers

Helen Buluma

The High Court sitting in Lilongwe has dismissed an application by National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) to stay an injunction stopping it from using the Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) system of procuring fuel.

Fuel Tankers Operators Association challenged the system, saying it was not provided for in the laws of the country, thwarts their business opportunities and is costly to the country.

The DDU system gives all responsibilities of shipping fuel from the port to Nocma’s reserves to the exporter while, under the ex-tank system, which the fuel tanker operators want, all the responsibilities and costs are borne by the importer, Nocma.

In the end, fuel exporters prefer international transporters as they are largely believed to be cheaper than local ones.

Last month, the same court granted an injunction stopping Nocma from using the DDU system, prompting Nocma to ask for a stay of the restriction.

But, in her ruling Tuesday, Judge Charlotte Malonda said she concluded that Nocma would not be prejudiced or suffer great injustice should a stay not be granted.

“Granting the suspension will vacate the injunction and, as indicated, the primary principle is that a successful litigant should not be denied the fruits of his litigation. Based on this principle, I find that granting the stay without any cause for doing so will occasion injustice to the claimant.

“Having found no basis for depriving the plaintiff the fruits of his litigation, I refuse to grant the stay and dismiss the application with costs,” the order reads.

Speaking in an earlier interview, Nocma Chief Executive Officer Hellen Buluma said claims that DDU system was expensive were unfounded.

“Let people argue with facts. Nobody has come forward with facts that support the claim that DDU is expensive. In some routes, the DDU is expensive but in others ex-tank is expensive,” she said.

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