Court orders MEC to pay K5bn in legal fees to Chakwera, Chilima lawyers

High Court has ordered Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to pay lawyers for President Lazarus Chakwera and his Vice President Saulos Chilima over K5 billion legal costs, an expense  burden on the taxpayer  for  Jane Ansah led MEC’s incompetence  in the annulled presidential election case.

Patemba: MEC has been ordered to pay costs.

The new order follows a constitution court ruling which ordered MEC to pay all legal costs for the first and second petitioners in presidential elections case.

According to the Registrar of the High Court, Agness Patemba the first respondent MEC has been given 45 days to pay the costs.

According to an assessment of taxed costs by registrar of the High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba, Chilima’s legal team will walk away with K2 314 184 550 billion while Chakwera’s legal team will walk away with K3 086 203 89 billion.

MEC has also been ordered to pay Chilima’s lawyers a total of K877 760 000 million and Chakwera’s legal team K726 463 920 million as legal fees for the February 3 ruling.

In April this year, lawyers for both Chilima and Chakwera, filed to the courts a claim of about K9 billion for the presidential election case which the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) nullified the May 2019 presidential election results.

Initially, Chilima’s lawyers claimed a total of K2 598 965 916.16 billion while Chakwera’s lawyers claimed a total of K6 260 637 526.85 billion.

“The Court is of the view that the bill for the first petitioner be taxed at a total of MK 2,314, 184, 550 and at a total of MK 3,086,890 for the second petitioner.

“The second respondent (MEC) is ordered to pay the total amount to the first and second petitioners within 45 days from the day of this order,” ordered Patemba.

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. The 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 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.

“The level of impunity that MEC demonstrated is partly due to the fact that they are not personally liable for the cost of the election case. It’s high time, as a country, we had a sober debate on the matter,” Munthali said in quoted which were reported by The Nation newspaper

MEC also has to pay South African legal firm, Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys, who were hired to represent the electoral body in the appeal case.

UTM president Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Chakwera won the presidential elections in which they were challenging the outcome of May 2019 presidential elections.

MEC and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika were the first and the second respondent in the case.

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Jamax
Jamax
1 month ago

S this is how you will start stealing our money?? Mr. President you are the Pastor how can legal fees sumount to 5 billion kwacha??? Mr. President before you start sharing that money with you vice think about that poor Malawian in the village. You have already started a good work of arresting all those people who plundered our taxpayers money in the past regime but now you are coming in as a pure hyena in a sheep’s clothes, this pure hypocrisy. If you are the true man of God please return or refuse the money.

Zio ine
Zio ine
1 month ago

MEC lost because this was a staged case to fleece government. I knew from the onset that this was a judicial syndicate. The money will be shared among judges lawyers and petetioners. Apart from the money Silugwe and Mvalo were rewarded by appointment into cabinet. If Chifundo Kachale does not challenge this theft then he will regarded as one of them. If indeed these are charges that these educated thieves charge, I bet lawyers in Malawi would have been taking holidays to mars.

Jack Sikwese
1 month ago

Paying 5 billion to MCP and UTM Lawyers for which work? This is day light robbery. If you had followed the whole court case regarding the Presidential election which nullified the presidential election, you will find that the Lawyers from both sides of MCP and UTM, their argument was that the election was rigged through using tippex and they asked the court for recounting of the votes. But the court in their ruling, they said there was no rigging as a result o using tippex and the courts did not even support the recounting of the votes. But the court… Read more »

Zofu
Zofu
1 month ago

The beauty is that alipira okha the ruling government now aza mbebe

Sizzler
Sizzler
1 month ago

Here is a special Anouncement !!!!
all those who used to be on ma DEMO,those who used to go court hearing ,or waste time court hearing on radios
PLZ mulembane maina ndalama zija zithuluka sopano ……
zigawo zonse zadziko konzekani …
Perekani Misonkho Boma lipase Chakwera ndi Chilima ..

Inunso mwatota?
1 month ago

Koma ndapsa mtima kwambiri mpakana kutota. Ndatota muja zimakhalira ukamaleretsa ndewu ya akazi akamamenyana uku akuvulana kenako wina bere nkutuluka panja muja. Ndiye umangoti Kodi poleletsapa ndingogwira bereli kapena ndingomuhaga mkaziyu. Ndiye umangotooota eish! Umu ndimomwe ndatotera popsa mtima ndinkhaniyi. These lawyers are simply daylight robbers. How can they claim all that money for just saying my Lady my Lord?

Anzelu ndi Anzelu
Anzelu ndi Anzelu
1 month ago

There is the legal aspect and the moral aspect. There are things that one may be legally entitled to but not morally right. Firstly, its the petitioners (Dr Laz, SKC) that went to court not MEC. Now that this pair are in power by the same courts, is it morally right for the same court to grant such obscene amounts payable by innocent taxpayers? This is not right, it doesnt feel or seem right. Jane Ansah and DPP will not even cough a single tambala, its the poor taxpayer. Legally its right but morally, this is abuse of court processes… Read more »

Sizzler
Sizzler
1 month ago

By the way these Judges and the Petitioners and their team had a mission.
The mission is now on.
The amounts we are told to pay will be divided to all those ones ..
I know the courts cant argue with me on that point..
Had the petitioners lost the case how would they have paid such figures
1+1=11

Ndinepano
1 month ago

They should be paid because while DPP and MEC were using government money to pay their lawyers chilima and chakwera were using their money. Palibe nkhani apa. Mmene kaphale amapempha court kuti should dismiss the case with costs amatanthauza chani? Mesa amafuna kulipiridwako. Ma cadet musayankhule zambiri.let them be paid.

Kaitano
Kaitano
1 month ago

When other Countries in Africa do call us Malawians as useless people, I was not agree with them, but now after reading many comments here, I felt sad and now I agree that yes indeed Malawians are walking ignorant creatures! Just for example, some comments are talking bad of Chakwera and Chilima in issue payment from the MEC ignorantly without even thinking that Chakwera and Chilima are going to pay Tax from the same money! why are you not worried with the Lawyers you hired from South Africa? You will pay them and they are not going to pa Tax?… Read more »

Malebwede
1 month ago
Reply to  Kaitano

Mu mutu mwako mwadzadza mamina

Isaac Mbewe
Isaac Mbewe
1 month ago

Malamulo asinthe, MEC Chair and Commissioners should have to bear these costs or they should be arrested for at least 5 years IHL.

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