Court stops Mulli Brothers' Chitakale winding up
The High Court’s Commercial Division in Blantyre on Monday failed to hear a petition for the winding up of Chitakale Plantations Company Limited owned by Mulli Brothers after the High Court in Zomba issued an order.
Mary Woodworth and Lisineti Gremu petitioned the court following the company’s inability to pay its debt.
But lawyer for Chitakale Plantations obtained the order at the High Court in Zomba and served it on the Commercial Division to stop the proceedings.
Chitakale Plantations failed to pay the two K21 million (about $84 000) in legal fees and compensation after it lost a case the company was fighting with the petitioners over land.
Judge John Katsala, making a ruling after hearing arguments from both sides on whether to ignore the Zomba court order and proceed with the case, said the situation the court faced was an order which on the face of it is erroneous because it contravenes the law of this country.
He said the question was whether the order should be ignored, disregarded or disobeyed.
Katsala said: “I think the most I can do is to express my profound regret at the situation. I would not want to create a situation where two courts [of equal jurisdiction] are seen as if they are contradicting each other or are fighting over a matter or are trying to outwit each other. I know such a situation would make a good reading in the newspapers, but it would not be good for the integrity of our judicial system.”
The judge noted that a court order, though erroneous or misguided, remains in force unless and until it is set aside.
Katsala urged the two parties to take the necessary steps to facilitate an appointment before the court in Zomba to argue the merits and /or propriety of the order.
He adjourned the case to August 13.
Lawyer Lusungu Gondwe is representing Chitakale Plantations whereas the petitioners are being represented by Patrick Mpaka.