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Court removes Times’ gag order

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The High Court in Blantyre Monday discharged an injunction which Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation(Admarc) obtained to stop Times Group’s Blantyre Newpapers Limited (BNL) from publishing stories about the dubious maize deal between Admarc and Zambian private company, Kaloswe Courier Limited.

Through lawyers Golden & Law, Admarc [as first plaintiff] and its Chief Executive Officer, Foster Mulumbe, [as second plaintiff] on December 29 2016 served BNL with an “Order for an Injunction’. The development came after Admarc made an application in The High Court of Malawi Principal Registry, filed as Civil Cause Number 477 of 2016.

The order restrained reporter Ntchindi Meki [first defendant], The Daily Times, Assistant Editor Madalitso Musa [second defendant] and BNL [third defendant] from publishing news regarding the procurement of maize until a court makes a determination on the matter.

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Speaking in an interview on Monday, lawyer of the defendants [Meki, Musa and BNL], Patrick Mpaka, said the court was today scheduled to decide on whether to maintain the injunction or vacate it after hearing arguments from the two sides.

“We filed our arguments against the injunction yesterday morning. We also served the plaintiff’s lawyers with the document for hearing which was scheduled for Tuesday (Today),” Mpaka said.

He said in the afternoon yesterday, he received an Order of the Court that lawyers of the plaintiff applied to the court to discharge the injunction.

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The discharge order reads: “It is ordered that the order of interlocutory injunction dated December 30, 2016 be and it is hereby wholly discharged and that the summons for the hearing of the continuation of the injunction is wholly withdrawn.”

According to Mpaka, the discharge of the injunction means nobody will be stopped to write on the maize deal in which money calculated at around K9.5 billion is believed to have been lost in the shady transaction.

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