Callista asks Malawi court to remove Duwa, Tapiwa as administrators of Mutharika’s estate

A rift between Malawi’s former first lady Callista Mutharika and her step daughters shows no sign of abating following Callisita’s latest move in which she is asking the Malawi High Court to remove the children as administrators of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s estate.

The two parties are already embroiled in another legal battle over the deceased estate in which Callista who is not a beneficiary in Mutharika’s will wants the court to give “a consequential order” that her late husband’s daughters Duwa and Tapiwa fully account to the deceased’s estates for whatever they have done with or under the power of the said order.

The late Mutharika’s last will written in March 2008 a year after the death of his first wife Ethel, did not revise it after he married Callista in 2010 but his two daughters Tapiwa and Duwa remain administrators of the multi-billion kwacha estate.

A local daily The Nation has reported that Callista wants the letters of the administration surrendered to the court forthwith and presiding High Court Judge Godfrey Mwase has set this Friday to hear the application.

“Amid a court battle where government is claiming K5 billion (about $12.5m) in unpaid estate duty from the K61 billion (about $152m) worth deceased estate in real estate and cash, Callista, through her lawyers, filed the application asking the court to set aside an order that granted letters of administration to Duwa and Tapiwa on May 31 2013” reports the daily.

Tapiwa Mutharika: One of the administrators of Bingu's wealthy estate
Tapiwa Mutharika: One of the administrators of Bingu’s wealthy estate
Callista's lawyer Ulaya (L) and Lusungu Gindwe lawyer for the state at the court on Bingu's estate legal battle
Callista’s lawyer Ulaya (L) and Lusungu Gondwe lawyer for the state at the court on Bingu’s estate legal battle

According to the report,  Callista’s lawyer, Louis Ulaya, appeared before the court when the matter on estate duty claimed by the State came up for all parties to be heard yesterday for summary attachment of property, and he made an application for his client to join the matter as an interested party.

But lawyer for estate duty commissioners, Lusungu Gondwe, objected to her joining the case at this time and the judge, who heard the matter in his chamber, said a date would be set for that application. Callista wants a right to audience.

The matter on the estate duty, however, did not proceed and the matter was adjourned to July 17 paving way for the input from new lawyers who have joined to represent the Mutharika family .The team includes lawyers Kalekeni Kaphale, Julius Nyambo and Frank Mbeta.

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