High Court Rebuffs Chisale

The Malawi High Court has, yet again, thrown under the bus, former President Mutharika’s gun-totting bodyguard.

The Court has rebuffed beleaguered former President Peter Mutharika’s erstwhile bodyguard, Paulos Norman Chisale in an assault case against Dingani Soko in which the one-time most powerful man in the country, drew a gun out, harassed and threatened to kill him in his office.

It never rains for the the ex-Malawi Defence Force private soldier Chisale, it pours heavily as has lost case against Soko who he now must pay millions of Kwachas as a consequence of his abuse of power.

The ruling, which has been determined by High Court Judge William Msiska following the hearing of an application to strike out for not disclosing any reasonable defence and for being irregular as it has contravened the provisions of order 7 rules 6 and 7 of Civil Procedures Rules (CPR) 2017.

Norman Chisale – rebuffed

Soko commenced civil proceedings against Chisale claiming for false imprisonment, assault and punitive damages.

The court heard that Chisale assaulted Soko on November 22, 2018 at his office after the claimant politely expressed his disapproval of the former’s “unbecoming, reckless and unlawful conduct.”

According to court records, on the day, Soko was driving around the roundabout, which connects Mzimba Street and Paul Kagame Highway, and while doing so, Chisale with his motor vehicle entered into the roundabout in violation of the claimant’s right of way.

Soko, who is said to have politely expressed his disapproval of Chisale’s unbecoming, reckless and unlawful conduct thereafter went to his office in Area 47.

Irritated, Chisale followed Soko to his office and took out a gun and threatened to kill him before ordering the police to arrest the claimant who was subsequently detained unlawfully by police officers from Lingadzi Police Station for over three hours.

The court heard that Soko was later unconditionally released without charge at the direction of Chisale, who was at the time President Mutharika’s most trusted and blue-eyed aide.

However, despite being served with the summons, Chisale filed a statement of defence very late, which prompted lawyer for Soko, Khumbo Soko to make an application to strike out the statement.

In defence, Chisale’s attorney, Chance Gondwe claimed that the summons were served when his client was in custody at Maula Prison on several charges ranging from fraud to murder adding that the summons were served on his legal practitioners, which he said it was difficult for the counsel to elicit full and better particulars from the defendant about the allegations.

After his release from prison, Gondwe told the court, Chisale was busy defending himself in two criminal cases on the attempted charge, which was taking place in Blantyre and impersonation of a person named in a Malawi Junior Certificate (JCE) which was taking place in the capital, Lilongwe.

Gondwe further cited Chisale’s defence on a matter involving forfeiture of his property and also attending to ongoing investigations by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Financial Intelligence Authority and the Fiscal and Fraud Section of the Malawi Police.

“As a result of these commitments, and other personal and family issues he has been unable to furnish his legal practitioner with further and better particulars of the defence up until the time for hearing the application to strike out the defence that he had managed to fashion out a defense which was intended to filed with the court,” reads part of the ruling.

In his response, Soko observed that counsel works on the basis of instructions received from client and it is, therefore, perplexing as to how the defence, which is the subject of the application was prepared.

Soko told the court, therefore, that it is safe to state that Gondwe sat down with his client and came up with the defence.

Soko further argued that Chisale has been on bail for close to year within which period he could have approached the court for an amendment to his defence in the matter.

In his ruling, Justice Msiska determined that the court was of the firm view that the defence could best, at the utmost, be described as being evasive.

“It should be noted as well that the defendant did not even exhibit to the sworn statement a copy of draft amended defence. Even if it were exhibited, this court would not have regard to it as it is clear indication that it was a mere reaction to the application to strike out the defence.

“This only shows to confirm that the defence as filed was aimed at delaying justice,” the ruling further reads in part.

In his determination the Judge therefore struck out Chisale’s defence and entered a judgment in favour of the claimant Soko.

“For all what I have set out (above), the application by the claimant to strike out the defence is strike out and judgment is entered against the claimant. It is so ordered,” Justice Msiska ruled.

This means, therefore, that Chisale is liable to pay Soko in damages for false imprisonment, assault and punitive damages.

Chisale is answering several other criminal cases in the courts including murder, illegal importation of cement valued at K5 billion into the country using former president Peter Mutharika’s duty-free privilege and in a case in which he is is accused of using another person’s Junior Certificate of Education certificate to get recruited into the army among others.

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