Callista, Mutharika children to settle dispute out of court

Late President Bingu wa Mutharika children and their step mother, former first lady, Calista Chimombo Mutharika have agreed to settle their property wrangle case out of court with negotiations currently underway to resolve the matter amicably.

Lawyers representing the former first lady and Mutharika’s children under Bineth Trust, applied to the High court in Blantyre on Thursday to adjourn the case Sine Die-indefinitely- to pave way for the out of court settlement negotiations.

Late Mutharika’s three children-Madalitso, Tapiwa, and Duwa-from his late wife Ethel Zvauya Mutharika-and their step mother have been tussling over Ndata Estate property which has the magnificent Casablanca Manor and the Mpumulo wa Bata Mausoleum.

The children have been accusing the mother of trying to take over the property registered under Bineth Trust-which was created late Mutharika’s, Bingu and Ethel.

Callista Mutharika: To settle matter out of court.- Photo credit Okongola Amalawi

Ruling
Lawyer for the former first lady, Mayer Gravel Chisanga told the court that the two sides have agreed to settle the issue out of court and that the case has to be adjourned indefinately.

Chisanga said the case will be revived once the negotiations are over.

“Parties have been talking and have decided to give negotiations a chance. For meaningful negotiations, there is a need to adjourn the case Sine Die and parties will revive it once the negotiations are over. Whatever the outcome might be, we have agreed to come back to court,” Chisanga said.

And his counterpart, lawyer Alfred Majamanda representing Mutharika children concurred with Chisanga saying, the adjournment will pave way for out of court settlement negotiations, which are currently in progress.

Making his ruling, Justice Manyungwa supported the idea of settling the matter out of court and adjourned the case indefinitely.

“The court always encourages the out of court settlement when parties are wiling. It saves court time and the involved parties’ money as well. I therefore welcome the application and adjourned the case Sine Die with both parties to pay their own costs,” Justice Manyungwa ruled.

Negotiations

In an interview after ruling, Chisanga disclosed that the two sides made the decision to settle the property wrangle out of court two weeks ago and that the negotiations were progressing smoothly.

“Negotiations started two weeks ago and both parties are ok with it. The negotiations are still in progress though the lawyers are not much involved,” said Chisanga.

The case will resume at the High Court once the negotiations are over, and its determination on the matter will depend on the out of the discussions.

Meanwhile, Former first lady Callista Mutharika is temporarily staying at Bingu wa Mutharika’s opulent Casa Blanca Manor at Ndata in Thyolo until the negotiations are concluded following a court injunction she obtained earlier this month stopping her step children from vacating her.

Mutharika children and the former first lady have been arguing on the ownership of Ndata Estate property with the latter arguing she cannot move out of the residence because it is a matrimonial home she helped with building, supervision, interior design and decoration.

The children, however, argue Calista should move out of the house which they say belongs to Bineth Trust and her prolonged stay in the residence is against the Trust’s objectives.

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