The Commercial Division of the High Court in Blantyre has vacated an interlocutory injunction it granted to the National Bus Service (NBS), a company belonging to businessman Leston Mulli around June 2021.
In his ruling of August 17, 2021 Justice Jabbar Alide agrees with the second defendant in the matter, Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, that NBS suppressed material information when they made the application which swayed the court to treat the matter differently.
The court has also observed that by obtaining various injunctions and stay orders from the various courts on the same matter, the claimant has in recent years been abusing court processes.
Justice Alide has also questioned NBS’s undertaking to stay court proceedings pending arbitration, a process he has observed they never committed to.
“…I find no reason to perpetuate the order for an interlocutory injunction that I granted to the claimant in this matter. Accordingly, it is ordered that the interim ex parte order for an interlocutory injunction that was granted in this matter be, and it is hereby, vacated accordingly,” the order reads in part.
The court has also found that Mulli and his company did not raise any serious question reiterating that they misled the court in the initial ex parte application.
It adds that with regards to the facts that are on the courts record and application of the law, the claimants cannot benefit from the Arbitration Act as they prayed for.
“The parties in this matter filed court processes far beyond the entry of just an appearance in the proceedings; the claimant’s prayer does not satisfy the requirements under section 6(1) of the Arbitration Act.
“Accordingly, the ex parte order of this court staying these proceedings pending reference to arbitration be, and is hereby, vacated accordingly,” the ruling adds.
When contacted Thursday, Mulli’s lawyer Lusungu Gondwe said he is yet to be served with a copy of the ruling.
“I haven’t read it so I can’t comment,” Gondwe said.
Commenting on the outcome, AG Nyirenda said the court affirms the other decision by Justice Mandala Mambulasa three weeks ago which dispossessed Mulli and his company management of Lilongwe, Wenela in Blantyre, Kasungu, Makata in Zomba and Mzimba bus depots.
Mambulasa in his ruling observed that the claimants, Mulli and NBS, had no locus standi (were not an interested party) in the matter.
The AG’s office and Mulli have in recent years been in a legal battle over the bus depots which the latter assumed control over when the Shire Bus Lines underwent voluntary liquidation in 2007.
After the ruling that dispossessed Mulli of the depots, Nyirenda obtained a preservation order from the court which prevents NBS from continuing with collection of revenue in relation to the facilities.