A court in Blantyre has ruled that the Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (MOAM) is not authorised collect levy and other fees on minibuses in Blantyre.
Justice Rowland Mbvundula said on Wednesday that the association was taking over the powers of Blantyre City Council (BCC) by collecting the money.
He was making a ruling in a case in which Clifford Mbuluma and Blantyre City Council took an injunction to stop MOAM from taking levies and fees on minibuses at the Mibawa Bus Depot, Blantyre Bus Stands and Minibus Terminal opposite Blantyre Market.
Mbuluma and the council entered into a contract under which Mbuluma was empowered to manage traffic services, remedy defects in such services and collect parking fees on all vehicles using the area covering the depots.
Under the contract, Mbuluma was expected to remit to the council the monthly sum of K2.3 million for the Blantyre Zone Street Parking area where he was to operate.
MOAM was however also collecting toll fees in the area in which Mbuluma was contracted to operate. This, Mbuluma complained, affected his capacity to collect maximally and placed him at the risk of defaulting in his obligations to pay the monthly remission to the council.
In its argument, MOAM said it collected the money under a legal framework emanating from a Memorandum of Agreement with the council.
MOAM also argued that it agreed with its members that the association will be collecting money from them.
In his ruling, Mbvundula said MOAM does not have a contract with the council and the association cannot rely on the alleged agreement with its members for it to be charging toll fees.
“The reason is that the legislature has expressly vested that power in the local authority (BCC) and in no other person or body of persons. Anyone purporting to do so usurps the local authority’s express statutory power,” he said.