President Peter Mutharika has hired Law Commissioner Gertrude Hiwa to the new post of Solicitor General and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Nyasa Times understands.
She replaces Jane Chikaya Banda who has served as Solicitor General since 2012
Banda confirmed on Friday that saying government had redeployed her to scandle riddled Ministry of Lands as Secretary for Lands.
Hiwa’s appointment comes after Human Tights Defenders Coalition threatened to challenge any decisions she may have made after the expiry of her contract as Law Commissioner.
The coalition also threatens to prosecute Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Muhara for allowing Hiwa to continue working outside her contract.
Gift Trapence the spokesman of the coalition said they had given President Mutharika a six-day ultimatum for him to appoint a new Law Commissioner to replace Hiwa, whose contract expired on June 23 2018.
State House press secretary Mgeme Kalilani confirmed Hiwa has left her position as Law Commissioner and Mutharika has already considered her for the new position – which happens to be the Solicitor General.
But Trapence said the coalition will still pursue a legal action against the Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara over decisions Hiwa made during the period when she had no contract at the commission.
“On the other hand, we will want the court to look at the decision by Muhara to extend her working period when it had expired and continued receiving benefits accrued to that office.”
Hiwa had also been involved in the process of receiving nominations for individuals to be appointed as commissioners of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) from CSOs.
As such Trapence said by virtue of Hiwa being substantively involved, the process is rendered unconstitutional, and would also be challenged in court.
But Kalilani said the decision by the organisation to take the matter to court is a nullity, arguing, it has been overtaken by events.
Kalilani said the rights defenders should not “personalise the process or try to blackmail the system.”
Earlier, Malawi Law Society (MLS) president Alfred Majamanda said the decision by Muhara to extend Hiwa’s term at the Malawi Law Commission after the expiry of her second five-year term was invalid.
In their August 1 2018 statement, the HRDC also demanded that all the benefits that accrued to Hiwa after June 23 2018 be repaid to government.
Monthly benefits that Hiwa has accrued since the expiry of her terms include a basic salary of around K1.4 million, fuel allocation of 600 litres, airtime allocation of K35 000 and medical aid scheme for her family worth K289 275.
The Law Commissioner also gets a gross pay of K520 130 as a commissioner of the Malawi Human Rights CommissionFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :