Ansah’s lawyer Musopa ‘unlicensed’: Chilima wants MEC case thrown out
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairwoman Jane Ansah has filed papers at the High Court against the Constitutional Court’s annulment of last year’s presidential election using a lawyer who has no valid practising licence, State vice-president and UTM Party President Dr Saulos Chilima has submitted to court.
Chilima – the first respondent in the presidential nullification case – in his submission filed by lawyer Khumbo Bonzoe Soko, asks the court to dismiss MEC’s application for suspension of the Constitutional Court judgement cancelling the presidential election and ordering fresh polls.
In his sworn statement, lawyer Soko states that a legal practitioner is only a Commissioner for Oaths if he has a licence issued under the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act (the ‘LELPA’), saying Ansah’s sworn statement to court purports to have been signed before Mr Musopa of NBS Bank Ltd who has no licence.
“The said Mr Musopa was not a licensed legal practitioner as at 7th February, 2020. He had no capacity, therefore, to administer an oath,” reads Soko’s submission.
Chilima’s lawyer tells the court that since Ansah’s lawyer does not have a valid licence, technically the sworn statement for the application before the court are “fatally incompetent and must be dismissed.”
Soko contends: “A document only becomes a sworn statement if the deponent takes an oath duly administered by a Commissioner for Oaths.
“Oaths and Commissioners for Oaths are governed by a statute: the Oaths, Affirmations and Declarations Act, (Cap. 4:07) (the ‘OADA’). Under sections 3 and 4 of the OADA, a Legal Practitioner is only a Commissioner for Oaths if he has a licence issued under the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act (the ‘LELPA’).”
Soko has also cited authorities where the Courts have held that steps taken by unlicensed legal practitioners are a nullity.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale said it is possible to have the sworn statement “retaken under proper licence holder.”
But through his lawyers, Chilima also argues that the interpretation of the Constitutional Court ruling which remains in force, Attorney General cannot take a partisan role in constitutional litigation.
“He must appear in his own right as an impartial and independent defender and custodian of the Constitution.” he said.
The Constitutional Court ruled, Soko pointed out, that Attorney General is constitutionally disabled from acting in a partisan manner.
“This has the effect of disqualifying the Attorney General from continuing to represent the Electoral Commission in this proceeding, whether before this Court or indeed in any other proceeding,” he argues.
Chilima’s application also states that there is no evidence of authority to file an appeal or set aside the judgement from the electoral body, stating that Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, made the decision unilaterally.
It says Ansah“is just the embittered Chairperson of the Commission. She is not the Commission. The Court has already held in this proceeding that the best evidence of a position taken by the Commission is the minutes of its meetings.”
Chilima’s lawyers argue that there are no minutes of MEC commissioners that made the decision to lodge appeal.
“The absence of the minutes must mean that any purported appeal is incompetent for want of authority,” reads Soko’s application.
Chilima, who has been State vice-president from 2014, quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last year to form the UTM party – formerly known as United Transformation Movement. However, the court ordered him and President Peter Mutharika to retain their positions until new elections are held within 150 days.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
you have to be serious you writers just imagine your putting chilima as first respondent rather first petitioner to the case what do you mean
She should resign or she is above the law.It looks no one can fire her.Even the president himself can not fire her, where does she get all the guts to say that there was nothing wrong using tippex.
Ant Jane akanakhala chemwali anga ndikana thetsa lero. Andichititsa manyazi mpaka kujambulitsa chithunzi chonchi ku parliament ngati mwana koma ali Judge waku Suppreme. KKKKKKKKKK zamanyazi
HOW DID ANSAH RISE TO SUCH HIGH POSITIONS AS SUPREME COURT JUDGE?
through affirmative action!!!
I think through UHULE ndi Pitala
I don’t blame Ansah, she has studied Malawians and she has concluded that there is nothing we can do. After about 9 months of demonstrations she is still in office and she has presided over elections. What does that tell you what she thinks about us.
Lawyers are making money this season. To lawyers, these are like ‘in the money options’. any lawyer is now taking a chance against MEC, for they know with the ever sympathetic judges very soon MEC will be ordered to sort their ever rising legal fees.
Malawi’s problems are due to the greedy politicians, lawyers and accountants.
Ansah ndi mzimayi wosamva
It appears that madam Ansah in haste to appeal, instead of resigning as she publicly promised Malawians, is making fatal errors at law. As a judge herself and in light of the ConCourt ruling she should have sat down and take her time to properly apprise herself of the whole judgement before appealing.
Tiyeni nawo amenewo,akudze magazi basi.
eeeee Koma yaaa koma ndiye kuthimbula Supreme Court Judgetu kkkk Maminute a macommissioners on decision to appeal alikut may ?? kkkk