Two legal teams that represented President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima in the May 21 2019 presidential election nullification petition have been paid the legal fees by government after the courts ordered they be paid costs in billions; Treasury has confirmed.
Chakwera had eight lawyers while Chilima had four, and the 12 initially claimed about K9 billion in legal fees.
But the court after assessing the costs claimed by the legal teams for the two petitioners, who successfully moved a five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court to overturn the outcome of the presidential election and order a fresh election within 150 days from February 3 2020 , came with a figure of around K5 billion.
The court ordered that Chilima’s legal team be paid K2.3 billion costs for the Constitutional Court case and K877.7 million for the appeal.
On the other hand, Chakwera’s lawyers were awarded K3.08 billion for the Constitutional Court proceedings and K726.4 million for the appeal filed by former president Peter Mutharika and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Treasury spokesperson Williams Bands confirmed that government has “ finally paid what was determined and claimed at the High Court and the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.”
Senior Counsel Modecai Msisha was Chakwera’s lead lawyer in the presidential election dispute. After Chakwera got elected as Malawi leader, Msisha declined his appointment as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The legal team for Chakwera also current Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Titus Mvalo, Pempho Likongwe, Innocencia Nkhoma, Chrispin Ndalama, Isaac Msongeya and Charles Mhone.
The initial line-up for Chilima’s legal team comprised current Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe as lead counsel, Marshall Chilenga, Bright Theu, Khumbo Bonzoe Soko and George Mtchuka Mwale.