Judiciary says new AG Silungwe can’t influence K9bn legal fees case

The Judiciary has  played down fears that  the appointment of   Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s ally and  his lead lawyer Dr Chikosa Silungwe  —who was his lead lawyer in the presidential election nullification case that gifted Tonse Alliance the presidencyas  the new Attorney General (AG), will influence the K9 billion legal fees claim case, in which he is an interested party.

Patemba: We are bound by the directions of the court

High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Agnes Patemba said the arbitration date for the claim is yet to be set but has dismissed any possible fears of possible compromise.

Patemba said  the matter will be handled in court in line with set rules and that there will be no out of court settlement.

“We are bound by the directions of the court that the matter be handled  by the court, hence, we cannot depart from this,” said Patemba in quotes reported The Nation newspaper on Wednesday.

Petitioners in the annulled presidential election case billed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) close to K9 billion as legal fees, a burden on the taxpayer.

Lawyers for President Lazarus Chakwera, who was the second petitioner  in the presidential election case, billed MEC K6.2 billion.

While lawyers for first petitioner Chilima asked MEC to pay them K2.7 billion.

MEC will also have to pay  lawyers for Chakwera and Chilima for costs after  losing the appeal case in the Supreme Court.

Chakwera’s legal team had eight lawyers in ConCourt while Chilima’s had four lawyers.

The costs cover, among other things, the period the lawyers spent preparing for the case, court attendance, care and conduct, instruction fee, disbursement and taxation costs. The are charges are per hour. A minimum hourly rate for a senior counsel is K60 000, for a lawyer with not less than 10 years it is K40 000, and for lawyers with less than 10 years at the bar, it is K30 000.

Private-practice laywer John Gift Mwakhwawa said Silungwe  – populary known as A Mtanga in social circles – is a legal practitioners, who cannot flout procedures “for he has high integrity.

A governance analyst Makhumbo Munthali, suggested that it is high time public officers who demonstrate incompetence in court cases should be personally liable for the legal costs.

He said such a punishment would act as a deterrent against possible abuse of taxpayers’ money by partisan officers.

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Chalo
4 months ago

When Kaphale, APM and Jane Ansah were employing delaying tactics on hearing the election case, they did not forsee that the government would be billed for the long hours taken by applicants’s counsel. Particularly senior counsel would be entitled to high bill per hour. These are court rules.

Mtegha
5 months ago

South african lawyers charged 600million,there was an outcry.9billion is just too much .i agree with somebody below,the money is going to be shared with judges.judiciary is corrupt to the bone . There are judges there who are on payroll of legal firms.some law firms do pay school fees for children of judges .if chakwera is serious about dealing with corruption,he should go there as well.

Nyamalikiti
Nyamalikiti
5 months ago

The corrupt judges are also beneficiaries to the 9.7billion so it will be paid even if chikosa does not influence it.

Sizzler
Sizzler
5 months ago

Biased Judicial legacy
We are watching …
HRDC is watching ….

Uyo
Uyo
5 months ago

Absolutely ridiculous.
9.6 billion kwacha divided by 12 lawyers including support staff equates to approximately 1,110 hours of service(5.2 years working 24 hours a day 7 days a week) meaning the lawyers have each been charging approximately 8.6 million kwacha per hour. Really????

Richard Steel
Richard Steel
4 months ago
Reply to  Uyo

Uyo, your calculation and analysis is dangerously misleading. May be the best you could have done was to divide the number of hours by the number of lawyers. This way, you could have found that on average, each lawyer worked for 92.5 hours, if we can go by your total number of hours. Of course each lawyer must have submitted the number of hours that he/she worked, and the total number of hours became what you have alleged above (I did not take the challenge of making any different calculation). It goes without saying that the number of hours per… Read more »

Angoni
Angoni
5 months ago

Do you understand the meaning of gifted?

Phwisa
Phwisa
5 months ago

Look at the whole judiciary and note that it’s all Tumbukas. Chakwera should look at this. Why only targetting us Lomwes. No. And by the way the new Govt can empower us if it first clear all non Malawians who entered Malawi from 1994. Osangoti kuthana ndi Lomwes. Do you that most of these came because of people like Kaliati? And today he want be saint. No.

Lingala,Bolingo Nangai.
Lingala,Bolingo Nangai.
5 months ago
Reply to  Phwisa

Aphwisa with your shamemful name,yes most lawyers are Tumbukas because they qualify and managed to be in the university for several years while you were selling Kalongonda.So dont cry,if you wish go to school pass JC and MSCE but with distinction though and then you may be selected to study law.But the way i see you with your name i dont think you manage to study law. So the whole judiciary are Tumbukas yes ,because they are very bright.Byyeeeeeee

Nkuzilire
Nkuzilire
5 months ago
Reply to  Phwisa

A PHWISI mulije mahara, choncho muzidabwa kuti a Tumbuka akhala bwanji ma judge?

Bauleni
Bauleni
5 months ago

What ever the case 9 billion is excessve. Kuba poyela yela.we are a poor country with no medicine in hospitals.God has left the group chat.

montana
5 months ago
Reply to  Bauleni

kkkkkk kuba
.

Wikleaks
Wikleaks
5 months ago

This whole theft was carefully planned. Potani once hinted that MEC should not mind about the cost because it will be paid by Malawians. I guess this money is to be shared among the judges , lawyers and petettioners. You can imagine this money is over 10% of the recently passed provisional budget.

Sarah sarah
Sarah sarah
5 months ago

Come on we are not kids. The case was bought by govt now that govt is gone, the new govt is the beneficiary, the govt legal advisor is a beneficiary.
The Malawi version of “Brazil Dilma ousting saga” has reached its final conclusion

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