Judge reserves ruling on FISP, as Transglobe withdraws
High Court judge, Kenyatta Nyirenda, has reserved his ruling on whether to sustain or vacate a judicial review which Transglobe Export Produce Limited applied for in the High Court in October this year.
The High Court in Blantyre convened on Friday to deliberate whether a judicial review is necessary in the matter in which Transglobe was left out on the list of suppliers in this year’s Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
The inter partes hearing took about five hours that followed an ex parte injunction Transglobe obtained from the High Court on October 20 this year.
However, Transglobe voluntarily withdrew the injunction it obtained from the High Court, arguing the decision was reached at for the “national good”.
The injunction restrained some Fisp operations, a development that annoyed the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and other stakeholders..
However, the hearing proceeded with submissions from both the plaintiff and the defence, which is the State.
Transglobe lawyers, led by Senior Counsel Mordechai Msisha, argued that there is no evidence that the applicant’s bid was not successful.
In lengthy submissions, the lawyers also said there is evidence that their client was awarded a contract to supply 10, 000 metric tonnes of fertiliser.
At least 32 companies applied to be this year’s Fisp suppliers, out of which 21 qualified. But following clearance by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and Office of the Director of Public Procurement, 14 companies were successful and were awarded contracts.
In his submissions, Attorney General Charles Mhango argued that the case does not qualify for a judicial review.
“In a matter of public procurement, remedies are there but this is to do with private law and [is] therefore not amenable to judicial review,” Mhango said..
In response, Msisha said this is distortion of facts, arguing that the involvement of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture in the issue signifies that this is to do with public law.
“Judicial review scrutinises executive decisions as provided for in the Constitution. It is important that proper scrutiny of actions of public servants be done. The respondents violated the Public Procurement Act,” Msisha said.
Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Chairperson, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said they would make a comment today.
The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture last week warned that it would propose to Parliament that the company should be banned from operating in Malawi should they not withdraw the injunction within 48 hours.
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