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HRDC, FDH in out-of-court settlement

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By Mandy Pondani:

WITHDREW INJUNCTION—Mpinganjira

Business magnate Thom Mpinganjira and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have agreed for an out-of-court settlement of a matter in which the FDH Bank boss obtained an injunction against the human rights group last week.

Both parties have confirmed the development and that consent orders have been signed.

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HRDC lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa said despite signing the consent, they were discussing the terms of the out-of-court settlement.

“I can confirm that my clients and the claimants have agreed to have the matter settled outside court. This means that we are no longer filing our defence to challenge the court order which was obtained against my clients,” Mwafulirwa said.

Mpinganjira was granted an interlocutory injunction restraining HRDC and its leaders Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence from dragging his name and business in any of their post-election undertakings.

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The injunction, according to a public notice, has been withdrawn, after an alleged cordial and frank discussion on the matter.

“The bank wishes to clarify that the injunction was not meant to stop HRDC from organising demonstrations on governance issues in the country,” FDH’s statement reads.

In an interview, FDH spokesperson Lorraine Lusinje confirmed the bank’s stand on the matter.

In the injunction order, Mpinganjira, through his lawyer Chancy Gondwe, alleged that in one of the reports presented to its members, HRDC made defamatory and malicious claims that FDH financed alleged rigging operations by Democratic Progressive Party in the May 21 presidential election currently under dispute.

The HRDC denied the claims.

FDH Bank and Mpinganjira have been in the spotlight lately after it was revealed that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has an account with the bank named ‘Chief Elections Officer’ to which the government sent K4 billion a day before elections.

This raised suspicion among some stakeholders who questioned the rationale of opening an account in such a name.

Mec said Treasury sanctioned the opening of such an account in that name.

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