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High Court grants injunction against Paramount-Yamaha dealership

Paramount Holdings Director, Prakash Gedhia, scheduled to answer criminal charges

 

The High Court, commercial division, sitting in Blantyre has granted an injunction against Yamaha and Paramount Holdings restraining them from spearheading their distributorship agreement in Malawi.

It was reported last week that Paramount Holdings, a foreign-owned company registered in Malawi has been granted dealership by Yamaha Motors, a Japan outfit. In an alleged interview reported by online tabloids, one of Paramount Holdings directors, Prakash Gedhia, mentioned that the company would consequently open branches across the country to distribute Yamaha motorcycles on retail.

The development signified that other companies trading in Yamaha motorcycles were to close shop as they would not have the authorization to do so. Motivated by the need to protect their businesses from closing shop, two local enterprises, namely Luthando Holdings; and Actor Imports and Export Agency jointly applied for an injunction together with Stansfield Motors, an erstwhile Yamaha dealer in Malawi.

The injunction which was issued on Thursday, 11th January 2023, binds Yamaha and Paramount Holdings and sets aside their reported dealership appointment agreement.

“This order restrains you, whether by yourselves, your servants, agents or whosoever other from effecting the decision to enter into a sole distributorship agreement with the 2nd Defendant at the expense of the Claimant”, reads part of the injunction order.

Speaking with this publication, Luthando Holdings Director, Mr. Hendrix Laher, expressed satisfaction with the injunction order hinting that the fight is ongoing “until justice is served”. Asked to explain on his statement, Mr. Laher explained that he believes Paramount Holdings is not an eligible candidate for the dealership because he is answering criminal charges related to accusation of fraud and forgery said to have been committed during a bidding process for supply of Yamaha motorcycles.

“From what we know, an appointed dealer is not supposed to sell on retail and shut other traders out of the market. A dealer, as Stansfield was, is supposed to distribute to other traders who sell on retail to end users. The intention of Paramount has been made clear over the period. He wants to open retail shops and sell on retail thereby stripping the capacity and opportunity of all other traders. This is intolerable greed and unacceptable business practice,” he further explained.

The Black Indigenous Business Network President, Kate Kamwangala, has added her voice on the development expressing optimism that indigenous traders seem to be awakening to the need to protect their business environment and promote their business interests.

“We are delighted at the news that local indigenous entrepreneurs are effectively asserting their rights. Malawian entrepreneurs have been disadvantaged and taken advantage of for far too long. When we look at high-value contracts, they have been entirely dominated by foreigners who have established their businesses in Malawi. When a Malawian trader goes to manufacturers abroad to procure supplies of high-value, we are always told to procure from their nominated agents/dealers who are in the country”, Kamwangala said.

“And you find that these so-called dealers who are always immigrant traders are also participating in the same bid that you want to supply and we end up on the losing side. This scheme is exploitative and shutting us from opportunities. This is unacceptable because it is public funds that are used to run those tenders which Malawians end up being disadvantaged. We need to wake up and redeem this country from such mess”, she further narrated.

Paramount Holdings and its three directors are expected to appear in court on 17th January, according to adjournment notice which was issued in December last year, to answer criminal judges bordering on falsification of documents that were used in a bidding process.

 

 

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