Friday Jumbe runs risk of fresh bankruptcy charges

Malawi’s opposition New Labour Party (NPL) President, Friday Jumbe, risks fresh charges of bankruptcy after a court rejected his application to dismiss judgment ordering him to pay K12 million he owes a lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale.

The former minister of finance and United Democratic Front (UDF) acting president owes Kaphale the said amount in legal fees from 2008 to 2011but Jumbe has been challenging the amount, arguing it was exaggerated.

Jumbe  had filed for a stay execution of an order for him to pay the amount in installments of K2 million every 90 days from February 1, 2013.

His legal battle was waged to dodge a notice of bankruptcy over non-payment of the sum.

Jumbe: Labour leader
Jumbe: Labour leader

“That’s against my conscience, I was forced to pay the K2 million (installments) to protect my political career. I humbly pray before this honourable court that the execution in Civil Cause Number 117 of 2011 be stayed pending determination of proceedings in Civil Cause Number 121 of 2013,” pleaded Jumbe in a recorded court statement.

But the High Court in Blantyre has thrown out his application, thereby risking being declared bankrupt if he fails to pay the lawyer again.

Through the Commercial Division of the court, Judge Chifundo Kachale said Jumbe failed to establish his case with concrete proof and, therefore, dismissed the matter with costs.

However, according to a published reports,  Jumbe’s lawyer Luciano Mickeus said he has already filed notice of appeal.

“I will review the ruling before moving the court on the matter by close of business this week,” he is quoted as saying.

According to court documents, Kaphale in his statement of claim argues between 2008 and 2011, he was instructed to act on Jumbe’s behalf in both contentious and non contentious civil and criminal actions for which he charged the total sum of MK12 434 286.12 in legal fees.

But by August 2011, Jumbe had only paid about K2.4 million leaving a balance of about K10 million.

Kaphale claimed he had acted on behalf on Jumbe in 12 cases between from 2008 and 2011.

But Jumbe, while admitting engaging Kaphale to offer his services and that he was liable to pay him for the said services, denied the extent of the liability.

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