Court Steers Salima Sugar Ownership Clash to Private Resolution

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The High Court in Lilongwe has mandated arbitration to resolve a dispute concerning the ownership of Salima Sugar Company, which involves two Indian companies and the Malawi government, represented by the Greenbelt Authority. 

The conflict pertains to the ownership stakes held by AUM Sugar and Allied Limited and the Malawi government’s Greenbelt Initiative Holdings Limited, Greenbelt Authority, Salima Sugar Company Limited, and the Attorney General. 

The dispute erupted following the Greenbelt Authority’s cancellation of a shareholding agreement with the Indian companies, who are accused of not adhering to the contract terms. 

Justice Charlotte Wezi Mesikano Malonda, presiding over the case, ruled on Monday, 14 May 2024, that the matter should be settled through arbitration, under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). She emphasized that arbitration is suited for swiftly addressing the urgent issues presented by both parties and stressed that any preliminary legal challenges raised were baseless, although she upheld the objection to discussing any urgent matters in court preemptively. 

The court directive specifies that any urgent or interim matters should be addressed by the designated arbitrators within 14 days. It also specified that the arbitration process should be expedited to address the pressing concerns of the involved parties, with each party bearing its legal costs. 

Salima Sugar Company Limited, formed in 2018, is a joint venture where AUM Sugar and Allied Limited held a majority stake of 60%, while the remaining 40% was held by the Malawi Government through the Greenbelt Authority.

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