The Supreme Court of Malawi Friday upheld a High Court ruling that stopped Malawi Mobile Limited (MML), from rolling out after the mobile service provider overstayed its roll out period.

Justice Michael Mtambo, reading the judgement on behalf of his fellow appeal judges, Leonard Unyolo and Michael Mtegha, said the agreement to extend the roll out period for MML was invalid because it was made by a Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority board which had been dissolved. This he said rendered the agreement between MML and Macra invalid.

The Supreme Court judges said former Macra Abdul Pillane issued the extension after he had already been removed as chairman.“There’s no arguable case here. How can there be a claim to something where there has not been any agreement between the parties?” asked Mtambo.

He added that although the company was registered locally, the majority of shareholders were based outside the country and as such there was need to give security for costs by showing the shareholders’ property in the country, which they did not.

The High Court in June granted an injunction to Macra restraining MML from recruiting staff until the court decided on the network’s licence issue. Last week’s ruling means Macra is now free to revoke the third mobile phone network licence granted to MML which failed to meet the deadline for rolling out the network.

Meanwhile, the trial of Pillane who is facing four counts ranging from uttering a suspended document to extend an agreement for MML, uttering a false document, to obtaining a document by false pretence and perjury, is scheduled to start on October 27, 2007 at Zomba Magistrates court.

Pillane was being prosecuted together with South Africa-based MML investor Petroklas Tsaperas and lawyer Khuze Kapeta but former Director of Public Prosecutions Ishmael Wadi separated the cases. DPP also discontinued the cases involving Tsaperas and Kapeta to deal with Pillane’s case first.

Nation Online