Atupele queries K9bn legal fees for opposition

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance running mate Atupele Muluzi has queried the K9 billion that the opposition for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the UTM party  is demanding, as costs for the presidential elections case.

AtupeleMuluzi (L) in Mzimba

Atupele was speaking during his campaign meeting  at Euthini in Mzimba on Thursday. He repeated the same at Mbalachanda and Mpherembe in the district.

He claims the demand is “pure theft.”

Atupele told the opposition leaders; Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima to pay the legal fees from their pockets as the show of the love of their country.

“It is immoral to demand such a huge amount of money from the public purse when the government has a lot of services to provide to the poor people,” he said.

Atupele’s comments comes after a grouping of Concerned Citizens have demanded explanation from the Judiciary on how it arrived at the K9.7 billion as legal costs – which will be paid by taxpayers.

The grouping, which comprises Philip Kamangirah, Willard Mhone, Nathan Chabuka and Moses Chione, has described the claim as illogical, uncalled for and crooked. The grouping further states that it finds the claim as undemocratic and very unwelcome.

It has given the Judiciary up to seven days to clarify, failing which they will call for the immediate resignation of the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

Reacting to the development, Sunduzwayo Madise, dean of law at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said sums of that nature are arrived at after meeting all concerned parties.

He said this means the state and the opposition parties lawyers met with the judges for the assessment of the costs.

Madise, who is also commissioner of the tax-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) said the Judiciary is under no obligation to make such a clarification.

He said the Concerned Citizens could be making the demands based on lack of information.

“I would like to believe that the said Concerned Citizens are misinformed. The courts have no obligation to disclose to the public how it arrives at legal costs,” he said.

Lawyer Titus Mvalo, who represented second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera in the presidential election case, said his team billed MEC K6.2 billion because they had eight lawyers in ConCourt.

First petitioner Saulos Chilima’s had four lawyers and billed MEC to pay them K2.7 billion.

The costs cover, among other things, the period the lawyers spent preparing for the case, court attendance, care and conduct, instruction fee, disbursement and taxation costs. They are charges are per hour. A minimum hourly rate for a senior counsel is K60 000, for a lawyer with not less than 10 years it is K40 000, and for lawyers with less than 10 years at the bar, it is K30 000.

Governance analyst Henry Chingaipe said effectively the legal costs will amount to “paying for the incompetence of MEC.”

Another governance analyst Makhumbo Munthali suggested that it is high time public officers who demonstrate incompetence in court cases should be personally liable for the legal costs.

He said such a punishment would act as a deterrent against possible abuse of taxpayers’ money by partisan officers.

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8 months ago

If your father pays back 1.7 billion with interest the figure will come to 15 billion enough to pay lawyers and balance to buy drugs for hospitals

8 months ago

Mbava za ku MCP ndi UTM anthu ovutika simuzalamulanso dzikoli pokhapokha mutawukitsa abale anthu amene munawapha aja,D MATENJE.T SANGALA,AARON GADAMA ndi D Chiwanga anthu oyipa inu agalu inu.

9 months ago

Lets talk about the 145 million graft money that was in your presidents account which had no explanation
The lets talk about the 1.8 billion your father stole from us
After that lets not forget the 700,000 USD fees you donated to those Tsotsis you call lawyers from SA.
And the 40 BIll for Mombera University.
When we finish those discussions we can sit and discuss the honest bills that Mvalo and Silungwe have submitted for payment. Coconut head.

Malawi belong to the citizens

What qualifications does Atupele Muluzi have? like father like son no qualification.Apolofesa ndiawa zikuwavutazi.Eish Malawi.

9 months ago

i love atupele what a gentleman. A true leader in the making. sizinazi

9 months ago

Atupele is a beneficiary of this cost. He should shuo up as he lost a mere MP position. He queried DPP win before so he has to be questioned on change of mind.

9 months ago

How much are u eating per day? Think about covid funding, how are are managing it. 9 billion nkachani.

9 months ago

Atupele, ung’ono-ung’ono wagwetseratu Chilima. Ife pheeeee kuona Atupele who is a calm, humble, respectful and hardworking young man.

H j k
H j k
9 months ago

Free expression of views tiyeni nago tikuwerengatuife

James Muhaliwa
James Muhaliwa
9 months ago

Is Atupele a qualified Lawyer ?i am beginning to doubt his credentials how can a Lawyer utter such stupid words on COSTS or Legal fees.Lets demand for his qualifications this boy is a con man.

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