Peoples Trading Centre Limited (PTC), owners
of Metro Cash and Carry shops, have this week sued former president
Bakili Muluzi following his alleged failure to settle in full a K5.7
million bill the UDF chairman is said to have incurred during his mass
shopping spree at Metro in Blantyre on April 2.
But Muluzi’s lawyers told The Nation on Tuesday that they will
contest the matter, which has been filed at the Commercial Court in
Muluzi went to the shop at about noon on April 2 where he offered to
pay for some selected items for all clients inside the shop. He left a
blank cheque—a gesture which ended in chaos as more customers,
including vendors, stampeded into the shop and grabbed whatever they
could lay their hands on.
The initial bill was K21 million which Muluzi protested. After a
verification exercise, Metro slashed the amount to K5,697,520.58
million but, according to some UDF officials, Muluzi was still not
Muluzi’s lawyer Charles Mhango confirmed Metro has dragged Muluzi to
court, claiming that his client paid K4.1 million and that Metro is
claiming an extra K1.4 million. A source at the Commercial Court said
the total bill PTC is claiming is K5,697,520.58.
Court records show that out of the K5,697,520.58, Muluzi—through his
lawyers—on April 18 presented a K4,273,140.00 cheque to the
complainant. PTC claims Muluzi left a K1,424,380.58 balance.
In the statement of claim, PTC gives the breakdown of the bill as
follows: loss of profits for one and a half days—K571,500; staff
overtime for stock-taking—K85,733.51; night allowances—K76,000;
refreshments and other materials used during the stock-taking/audit
exercise—K96,167.47; bus fares for staff—22,360; audit time—K50,000;
management time—K152,700; and damaged stock—K289,991.71.
PTC also claims that during the shopping, Muluzi’s agents Brown
Mpinganjira, Lilian Patel, John Chikakwiya, Ken Msonda and Abubakar
Mbaya removed the plaintiff’s end control supervisory staff who are
normally stationed at the tills to verify goods collected by customers
and their values.
But Mhango said: "We will challenge the matter because what Metro demanded is higher than what my client is supposed to pay.
"They issued an invoice of over K5 million to my client and they are
demanding the extra K1 million-plus which they claim is balance on
invoice, interest, damage to the shop and time spent on the audit
[exercise to verify the bill]."
PTC lawyer Davis Njobvu said he could not comment on the issue as his client might not be amused to have the matter publicised.
Press and Corporation Limited (PCL) group trade executive officer
Pius Mulipa, whose conglomerate owns PTC, said he could not comment on
the matter as it is in court.