DPP, CSOs in court initiated talks over ‘Blue Night’ proceeds

The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and civil society organisations on Thursday started High Court initiated talks aimed at finding a common solution over K13 million the party obtained from two government institutions for a blue night fund raising event.

Lawyerd Wesley Mwafulirwa (C) demanding K20 million incurred in the DPP Blue Night case.

Lawyer for the CSOs, Wesley Mwafulirwa confirmed the talks have started following High Court judge Zione Ntaba’s order for mandatory talks on the  refused to give more details, saying doing so would
derail the talks.

Hetherwick Ntaba, chairman of the fundraising committee which organised the event refused to comment on the matter.

DPP organised the blue night in Lilongwe last year and solicited K13 million from Blantyre City Council and Lilongwe Water Board which irked the CSOs which say it was illegal for the party to force the two  government institutions to donate to the party and took the party to court.

The DPP in court asked judge Ntaba to throw out the case, saying the CSOs had no interest in the matter but Ntaba said the CSOs had interest and ordered the immediate start of talks between the two parties within two months.

The five CSOs that dragged DPP to court included Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Youth and Society (YAS) and Livingstonia Synod’s Church and Society Programme.

In her ruling, Ntaba declined to dismiss the matter saying the CSOs had sufficient interest in the case and it was within their right to take it to court.

She further directed that the matter be taken for mediation to be conducted by Justice Redson Kapindu within two months failing which the court would continue with submissions on June 16 2018.

Meanwhile, private practice lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa has written the DPP and Blantyre City Council (BCC), demanding K20 million incurred in the DPP Blue Night case following  court’s order for the parties to pay the costs following their unsuccessful application to have the Blue Night case dismissed.

“Kindly be advised that if we do not hear from you within seven days, we will proceed to move the court to tax the costs. Bear in mind that the taxation process itself will attract further party and party costs,” reads the letter by the Mzuzu-based lawyer dated April 4 2018 which has been sent to the institutions through their respective lawyers with a copy to the Attorney General (AG) chambers.

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