FDH Bank has disregarded Blantyre High Court by going ahead advertising the sale of Maranatha Girls Academy, despite the court order stopping them to do so.
The court ordered four bosses from FDH Bank to appear before the High Court in Blantyre to explain why they are holding the court in contempt by disobeying an order given by the court on September 27 2013 and January 6 2014 following a protracted legal battle with Maranatha Girls Academy Limited.
The four bosses summoned are Managing Director Eric Ouattara, his deputy William Mpinganjira, Head of Credit Arthur Yapuwa and Rehabilitation and Recoveries Manager Joseph Khonje following fresh application.
However, instead of waiting to appear before the court of law on the matter on 18 May 2017, the Bank has gone ahead advertising the sale of the Academy in The Daily Times of 28th April 2017.
Judiciary Spokespaerson Mlenga Mvula said once found guilty, the four bosses risk being fined or given custodial sentence.
“Hearing of the matter will take place in the chambers on May 18 2017, for the four to explain why they are not complying with the injunction,” Mlenga said.
Lawyer of Maranatha Girls Academy , Cassius Chidothe, confirmed delivery of the notice.
“It is true the court will ask them to plead guilty or not to the contempt matter,” he said.
He also said they were surprised that despite the court order restraining them to sale the Academy, the Bank has gone ahead to advertise for its sale.
Maranatha first wanted FDH Bank Holdings Chief Executive Officer, Thom Mpinganjira, to answer contempt charges but has now changed since the matter in question is between FDH Bank and Maranatha Girls Academy and not the Holdings.
Documents signed by the Registrar of the High Court dated April 25 2017 and served on FDH Bank show that the court also feels the bank has disobeyed a court injunction which was issued in 2013 and 2014.
“The four are holding this court in contempt by blatantly and contemptuously disobeying an order given by this court on September 27, 2013 and January 6, 2014, wherein an injunction was granted restraining the Respondent [FDH Bank] either by itself, its servants or agents from realising security in title number South Lunzu 7/45 in the city of Blantyre until the determination of this matter or a further order of the court,” reads part of the notice.
This is not the first time for FDH Bank to disobey the court of law, because last month it sent some officers to Maranatha to assess the premises again, undermined the injunction and contempt of court charges.
The court battle between the two entities dates back to 2013, when the bank advertised for sale of the school for its failure to settle a loan that Maranatha got from the bank but in turn the school sued FDH Bank for loss of business.
At first Maranatha Girls Academy Limited was awarded about K785 million but in his ruling in April last year, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda slashed the figure to K392 million and other costs after the Supreme Court determination is made on the matter.
Nyirenda ordered FDH Bank to pay Maranatha Girls Academy for the bank’s failure to give the school three months statutory notice when it advertised in newspapers on July 25, 2012 that it would sell Maranatha Girls Academy Limited.