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Attorney General Gives DPP 4 Days to Pay 59.9 Million Kwacha for Court Sins

Thabo Chakaka-Nyinrenda

The Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been given a four-day deadline to pay K59.9 million as expenses to Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda. The High Court had initially ordered these costs after the DPP lost a case in which it sought a constitutional interpretation. This legal challenge arose after the High Court, which had heard the Malawi Congress Party vs. President of Malawi case in 2019, ruled that four Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners were appointed illegally.

The contested appointments were those of Arthur Nanthulu, Steve Duwa, Linda Kunje, and Jean Mathanga, all appointed by former President Peter Mutharika on June 7, 2020, just before the court-sanctioned fresh presidential election on June 23, 2020.

In response to the High Court’s ruling that nullified the appointments of the four commissioners due to perceived impunity on Mutharika’s part, the DPP filed a summons challenging the decision. However, the DPP’s challenge was unsuccessful, and the court ruled in favor of the Attorney General, requiring the DPP to pay the incurred costs.

“DPP was given two weeks to pay K59.9 million costs but it’s now five weeks and the party has not honoured the payment,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.

The costs are to be paid to the AG, who represented government at the Constitutional Court during the DPP challenge.

“There is default on the part of DPP to make payment. This is a notice to pay. If they don’t pay we will enforce the order,” he said.

A letter signed by Abison Chitukula— who is the lawyer representing the AG— to DPP lawyer Charles Mhango, reads: ‘We have noted that your client has neglected and failed to pay the said costs within the prescribed period. It is on foregoing premises that we request immediate payment of the judgement debt.”

DPP has been told to kindly arrange the payment of the K59.9 million in four days or risk serious action.

When contacted, Mhango said he has communicated the contents of the letter to his client DPP.

“I have provided that letter to my client and I’m waiting to hear from them. There is nothing I can say beyond that because it’s not about Charles Mhango. I’m just a lawyer so I have communicated to my client,” Mhango said.

 

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