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Sheriffs pounce on Balaka council offices

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Sheriffs from the High Court of Malawi Tuesday morning pounced on Balaka District Council secretariat, forcing open some offices and confiscated five computers and one printer in the process.

The sheriffs, acting on instructions from one Khumzy Kumwenda of Khumzy Construction, confiscated computers from the registry and accounts offices containing Local Development Fund data after breaking the locks to gain access into the accounts office.

Speaking in an interview, District Commissioner for Balaka, Roderick Mateauma, admitted the issue is an old one which was scheduled to be heard in the High Court on February 18 but they were surprised by the sheriffs’ move to break into offices.

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“The issue is about one Khumzy who is claiming K1.5 million for defamation after he was unceremoniously removed from the council’s rest house for some reasons and K3.5 million as damages for loss of construction business with the council of which he has no offer letter or any document supporting that he had a contract with the council”, Mateauma said.

Mateauma said the sheriffs froze one of the council’s accounts and Khumzy got K1.5million which was in that particular account but the council is disputing that on the grounds of lack of evidence.

“Currently, I am driving to Blantyre to meet council lawyers, Salim and Associates, to map the way forward because the issue allegedly happened in 2006 and there is no evidence Balaka District Council shamed the complainant to award him K3.5 million in damages,” Mateauma said.

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A council official, who did not want to be named said the confiscation of the computers has paralysed most council work including Public Works Programme (PWP) activities as names of beneficiaries and relevant data is contained in the computers.

“Nobody will be paid for PWP as the names of beneficiaries and other important documents have gone,” he said.

The sheriffs, who were in company of two policemen, referred the media to High Court Registrar who could not be reached on his mobile phone on Tuesday.

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