Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has been costing tax payers a lot of money due to his irrational behaviour including arresting critics on politicaly motivated cases. In the recent development, the tax payer will cough K4.5 million ($26 946) compensation to former five security officials who were arrested on trumped up treason charges in 2008.
According to The Nationnewspaper, this follows a High Court ruling in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, on Thursday that retired Malawi Defence Force (MDF) commander, the late general Joseph Chimbayo, former inspector general (IG) of police Joseph Aironi and former commissioner of police Matthews Masoapyola should each be paid K4.5 million ($26 946) as compensation for the ordeal they underwent.
The three together former United Democratic Front (UDF) regional governor for the south John Chikakwiya and current UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala filed for damages for defamation, legal costs and costs of the action in Civil Cause number 880 of 2009, according to their lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa.
High Court assistant registrar Mapapa Kacheche noted in her assement as quoted by the paper: “Damages for false imprisonment are generally awarded for the impecuniary loss of dignity. The principal heads of damage appear to be the injury to liberty.”
“They are fairly advanced in age and as can be perceived, their incarceration was rather arbitrary. I will thus award them K3 million in damages including exemplary damages
for false imprisonment.”
He also awarded K1.5 million “taking into account the mode and amount of publicity that followed.”
The five and others were arrested in the early hours of May 13 2008 on allegations of treason and they were not immediately taken to court to be formally remanded until May 15 2008.
The court released the five on May 20 2008 on condition that they should be prosecuted within nine months, but the State did not do so. The State’s failure to prosecute the case prompted the five to apply for a discharge as they were not charged or prosecuted.