High Court bars Mulli Brothers from Viphya-Chikangawa Timber
Self-styled local business mogul Leston Mulli of Mulli Brothers Limited, who runs Flatland Timbers, has been stopped from plying his trade from South Viphya Forest Reserve following an ex-parte injunction granted by the Mzuzu High Court on Thursday, Malawi News can reveal.
According to the court documents that we have looked at, Mulli has been stopped from harvesting, sawing, or removing and transporting any timber from the forest.
The company owes South Viphya Forest Reserve K192 million since they started harvesting timber in July 2010.
The documents further show that Mulli Brothers on May 29th 2012 issued a Cheque Number 00000002246667 drawn on Customs Road Branch of National Bank of Malawi for K19,020,000 but instructed Eric Zangazanga who is plantation manager for Viphya Forest Reserve, Department of Forestry not to deposit the Cheque until he ( Mulli Brothers) instructed them to do so. To date the cheque remains undeposited.
In granting the injunction, Judge Dingiswayo Madise said: "The court is satisfied that this is a proper application in which an order of injunction ought to be granted."
The documents further say that if Mulli Brothers, its agents or servants fail to adhere to the court order they may be held to be in contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized.
Apart from failing to pay the money, the court also discovered that the company had no agreement as is required for them to harvest timber, but had multiple licences lasting up to June 30, 2013.
"The respondent (Mulli Brothers Limited) has never or at any time entered into any agreement, but surprisingly was on 1st July, 2010 issued with an unnumbered license, current to 30th June, 2013, subject to annual reviews," the document states in part.
However, ever since, the license was issued, Mulli Brothers Limited has never attended any review meeting where licenses are reviewed.
There have been wanton cutting of trees in the Chikangawa Forest which is the country's largest man-made forest. Wildfires have in the past and continue to threaten the existence of Chikangawa Forest which now lies almost bare.