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Mulli, Attorney General tussle over Affordable Inputs Programme deals

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Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda

The High Court sitting in Lilongwe is yet to determine whether to send for judicial review a case in which Mulli Brothers Limited (MBL) and its subsidiaries are seeking K3.8 billion from the government for being removed from the list of 2020 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) suppliers.

The subsidiaries are Web Commercials Limited, Rock Ba Rock Investment and FF Trading.

However, Attorney General (AG) Thabo Nyirenda wants the case dismissed.

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During hearing of the case in Lilongwe Wednesday, the AG insisted that the court should dismiss the applications because the companies belong to one family.

“It is my prayer that the court should dismiss the applications of the four entities based on the fact that the companies are owned by same persons and same directors and same management,” he said.

Nyirenda faulted MBL for hiding information that the companies belonged to the same directors.

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He described this as conclusive tendering as well as bid-rigging which he claimed to be against the law.

However, John Kalemba, who is one of the lawyers representing the companies, described the AG’s application as baseless.

“All the facts that the Attorney General is raising are baseless because the claimants are separate business entities [and] each one has the right to sue,” Kalemba said.

In 2020, the government barred MBL from participating as one of the suppliers for that year’s AIP.

Initially, MBL and its subsidiaries were on the list of companies that had been given the go-ahead to supply farm inputs in 2020

Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe confirmed the development, saying the company owed the government billions of Kwacha.

He said the companies were on the list of companies that had qualified for the contract but failed to fulfil some of the contractual obligations.

Lowe was quick to point out that, if Mulli were to settle loans and “put his house in order”, the ministry was ready to give him contracts.

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