The Nyasa Times media group has filed at the High Court an acknowledgement of service of writ of summons filed by President Peter Mutharika on defamation and the online publication is proceeding with the defence.
Mutharika sued Nyasa Times alongside former presidential aide Allan Ntata over Ntata’s article which was posted on various media networks including social-media platform Facebook, and on Nyasa Times on June 22 this year, alleging the President is implicated in the K92 billion Cashgate.
Nyasa Times CEO Edgar Chibaka and Editorial Director Thom Chiumia have confirmed that the online publication has hired “ an army of lawyers in Malawi and here in the UK” working on the case.
Private practice lawyer John Gift Makhwawa, a former president of Malawi Law Society, is a lead attorney for Nyasa Times.
Makhwawa confirmed filing an acknowledgement at High Court to defend the matter.
In a lawsuit filed at the High Court in Blantyre, the President through his lawyer James Masumbu, wants a court order to restrain Ntata and Nyasa Times from further publishing the issue of K92 billion Cashgate linked to the Bingu administration.
Nyasa Times intends to mount “a vigorous defence” and believe the matter will help the battle to fight wrongful self-enrichment in Malawi.
The President, according to the court record, said Ntata wrote on his Facebook page that a Mrs Sadiq of HTD allegedly defrauded government close to K20 billion on bogus purchases of motor vehicles and that President Mutharika is closely linked to and associated with HTD and the bogus payments could be linked to him.
Ntata was legal adviser to the President’s elder brother, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, who ruled the country from 2004 until his death in April 2012. He has hired lawyer Gustav Kaliwo to defend him
Germany provided K9.76 billion for the audit exercise into the K92 billion which was prompted by a 2011 interim investigative audit report of government’s payment system—the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis)—which revealed that ministries and departments may have lost about K577 billion through abuse and irregularities between 2009 and 2012.