Kaliati challenges Kasambara on K60m defamation suit

Malawi’s Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati has challenged President Bingu wa Mutharika’s first Attorney General Ralph Kasambara, now government’s fierse critic, that he has erred by suing her personally since her actions are on behalf of government as its spokesperson.

Lawyer-cum-politician Kasambara is demanding K60 million from the minister over her remarks that he was arrested for kidnapping and homo-sexually abusing “innocent men.”

“Am I being sued as an individual? Was I speaking as an individual in Mkando with my husband? Some of these things we comment on as government and not individuals,” she said.

Kaliati: No personal

Kaliati was speaking in Lilongwe during a news conference where she along Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Yunusu Mussa were briefing journalists on their visit to Botswana.

They went to Botswana to attend a 50th anniversary celebration of that country’s ruling party, the BDP.

Kaliati is the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of women while Mussa is the party’s second vice president and were in Botswana in their party position capacities.

Kasambara, who was arrested two weeks ago but is now out on bail on medical grounds, instructed his lawyer Wapona Kita to commence legal challenge against the garrulous government spokesperson.

He is being accused of kidnapping and unlawful wounding a gang of alleged government-sponsored thugs who the Congress for Democrats (Code) president claims were sent to  petrol-bomb his offices in Blantyre.

Kaliati told state broadcaster MBC radio soon after Kasambara’s arrest that he had been arrested after failing to sexually attack three men at his office.

Kita confirmed that he has been instructed by Kasambara to sue Kaliati for defamation on her damaging remarks.

He said Kasambara was seeking damages in the region of K60 million.

Kaliati initially played down the legal suit threats, urging Kasambara “to go ahead.”

“Let them go ahead and sue, who cares,” said Kaliati when contacted for comment.

Court documents revealed later that the Minister might not be able to honour the K60 million legal suit since she is also facing bankruptcy proceedings after failing to settle a K300, 000 debt.

According to court documents in a commercial case number 66 of 2011, Kaliati is failing to settle the K300, 000 from the initial K1.2 million debt she owed businessman Clement Fidel Sapuwa.

The Minister issued several cheques to settle the debt and the last cheque of K300, 000 was referred to drawer.

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