By Mandy Pondani:
The High Court in Blantyre has granted an injunction to FDH Bank Chief Executive Officer, Thom Mpinganjira, restraining Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders, Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, from targeting the bank in all their undertakings aimed at pressuring Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, to resign.
The order also stops HRDC leadership and its members from publishing or mentioning the bank, claiming doing so is defamatory.
The order, which was granted on July 9 2019, lists the bank as second claimant while Mtambo, Trapence and HRDC are the first, second and third defendants respectively.
Through his lawyer Chancy Gondwe, Mpinganjira says the continued dragging of his bank into the matter by alleging that FDH financed rigging operations by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the May 21 Tripartite Elections is causing malicious and reckless damage to the business.
“An order of interlocutory injunction is, hereby, granted restraining the defendants from causing reckless, malicious and defamatory publication of the claimants through a report dated July 5, 2019 presented by the first defendant to its members that the claimants financed rigging operations for the 2019 tripartite operations,” the order reads in part.Advertisement
According to the court, the order remains in force until an inter-partes hearing of the matter is held, whose application should be done by the claimants within seven days.
In his sworn statement, Mpinganjira accuses HRDC of tarnishing his image and that of his business in their first report in the aftermath of the two-day anti-Ansah demonstrations in which the coalition claims he has wielded so much power and influences President Peter Mutharika’s decisions.
Mpinganjira wonders why the bank and his name continue to be dragged into the post-election events despite writing the organisers of the demonstrations through his lawyers not to do the same prior to the July 4 to 5 2019 protests.
The statement reads: “Despite the foregoing, the demonstrators, under the banner of the HRDC, stoned and broke glasses at FDH Umoyo House whilst chanting and singing songs denigrating me and the bank for the alleged financing of the rigging scheme.”
FDH Public Relations Officer, Lorraine Lusinje, refused to comment on the development when contacted Tuesday.
FHD Bank and Mpinganjira have been in public light following revelations that the bank domiciles Mec ‘Chief Elections Officer’ account to which K4 billion was transferred on May 20 2019 on.
Human rights activists and other opposition political parties said they had reservations with such a name which they say is against principles of good corporate governance.
However, Mec says Treasury ordered the opening of such an account in that name.
HRDC lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa said they would challenge the order in the next 48 hours saying his clients were only exercising their right on a matter of public interest.
“Every Malawian, including my clients, have the right to question anything, especially election matters which are of national interest. Financial institutions are not sacred and neither are they above the law,” he said.
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