High Court registry in Zomba will from February 20 start hearing the case in which civil society organisations (CSOs) want the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to desist from abusing power by soliciting funds from State agencies by paying back money it collected during its dinner nad dance fundraising event dubbed the ‘Blue Night’.
The five CSOs—Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Youth and Society (YAS), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and CCAP Synod of Livingstonia’s Church and Society Programme—took to task DPP to refund donations received from all State agencies for the Blue Night fundraising event held at Kamuzu Palace on July 29 2017 where President Peter Mutharika was the guest of honour.
DPP reportedly sollicited at least K13.5 million from the cash-strapped public institutions for political activities.
CSOs seek a court order to stop the DPP from ever sourcing or acce[ting donations from any public funds or public institutions unless it complies with the relevant legal framework.
In the consent order dated September 26 2017 signed by lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, on behalf of the five CSOs and legal representatives of Mzuzu City Council (MCC) , John Tennyson and Associates and witnessed by High Court Registrar at Zomba Registry Benedictus Chitsakamile, MCC admitted making a pledge to the DPP during the Blue Night fundraising dinner and dance.
MCC was one of the public agencies taken to court alongside DPP for pledging to donate public funds in the civil cause number 41 of 2017 where the DPP as the first respondent alongside Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu city councils and Lilongwe Water Board.
But after Mzuzu City Council (MCC) signed a court order declaring that it would not honour its K3.5 million pledge towards activities of the DPP, the council was removed from the list of respondents in the case.
Prior to the court process, DPP engaged the CSOs in dialogue, but the CSOs pulled out after the party postponed a scheduled meeting where it was expected to furnish the groups with names of institutions that donated to the party and the date it planned to refund the money.
Initially, when the CSOs, including Malawi Law Society (MLS), condemned DPP’s collection of funds from the State agencies, DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey branded the criticisms as zachamba (nonsense), an utterance that angered the CSOs.
She later apologised for the uncouth language and engaged the CSOs in a dialogue that has since collapsed.
The CSOs argue that DPP’s conduct amounts to misuse and abuse of public resources contrary to the country’s legal framework.
Under Section 178 of the Constitution and Section 23 of the Public Finance Management Act, no single tambala of public money is supposed to be expended unless such expenditure is authorised by an Appropriation Act or is a statutory expenditure.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :