End of Mulli as Lilongwe Bus Depot finally handed over to Council- 6 months to come up with modern plans

By Durrell Namasani

The reclaimed Lilongwe Bus Depot has finally been handed back to the city council by the government. The depot was at the centre of controversial as the courts declared that Businessman Leston Mulli and his National Bus Services illegally bought  the depot and government had the right to take it back. The council has been given six months to come back with modern plans for the dilapidated depot

Early this year Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda announced that  local councils were now in control of former Shire Bus Lines depots following a High Court ruling dismissing an application by Mulli Brothers-owned National Bus Services.The reclaimed bus depots are Lilongwe, Wenela in Blantyre, Kasungu and Mzimba.In the case, the National Bus Service was challenging Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development which intended to take over management of the bus depots. lawyers for the bus company argued that the depots, workshops and all landed property owned by Shire Bus Lines Limited were transferred to National Bus Services after the firm bought Shire Bus Lines.

Chinsinga handing over depot to Lilongwe City Council

In a ruling dated July 29, 2022, High Court Judge Mandala Mambulasa has dismissed National Bus Services’ application for judicial review on the matter.

“The claimant (National Bus Service) does not possess the requisite locus standi considering that it never executed the MOU upon which it premised its application for permission to apply for judicial review.

“Accordingly, the permission to apply for judicial review dated 5th February, 2020 and the consequent stay, were erroneously granted hence they are hereby discharged,” reads part of the High Court order.

The judge then slapped National Bus Services with costs.

The handover ceremony was graced my Local Government Minister Blessings Chinsinga and his Deputy, Honourable Halima Daud,This handing over of the depot, follows the recent ruling by the High Court of Malawi Lilongwe Registry, that Councils of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Kasungu and Mzimba, should take charge in managing the affairs of their bus terminals, away from being managed by one private firm.

In his statement, Chinsinga said the ceremony, therefore, represents the handing over of all the mentioned Bus Depots, to respective Councils.

“This is a victory for Malawians, knowing that the revenue from the facilities, will benefit them, development wise.I have therefore, given the Lilongwe City Council, six months, to come up with modern bus terminal plans and willing investment partners, for the commencement of the construction, of an international standard infrastructure”.

He went on to say   that this latest development t resonates well with His Excellency the State President, Dr Lazarus Chakwera ‘s agenda, of fixing the broken systems, by bringing back the lost benefits to Malawians.