Sheriffs in Mzuzu have impounded vehicles for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member of Parliament for Nkhata Bay, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, for failing to reimburse K7 million legal costs for his June 29, 2021, by-election contender Ralph Mhone.
The cost emanates from the legal battle between Kaunda and Mhone over the May 2019 parliamentary election, which saw the former being declared winner.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared Kaunda winner of the election with 6, 418 votes against Ralph Joseph Mhone’s 6, 412 votes.
But Mhone contested the results, citing widespread irregularities in the way the pollster handled the poll.
The High Court in Mzuzu rejected Mhone’s petition, saying there was no sufficient evidence supporting his allegations and ordered him to pay costs.
Kaunda demanded K40 million from Mhone, which he said he had incurred in defending his election.
But lawyers for both parties opted for a compromise after a long court battle on damages and settled for K7 million.
However, Mhone made an appeal with the Supreme Court following the judgement in the high court.
In April 2021, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre nullified the results of 2019 parliamentary elections for Nkhata Bay Central Constituency and ordered that each party bears its own costs in both applications.
On 7 July, 2021, the court ordered Kaunda to reimburse the K7 million within 21 days to Mhone that was initially paid.
The June 29, 2021, by-election-reinstated Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator failed to comply with the order, a development that prompted the court to order the seizure of his property.
An order from the High Court of Malawi to Vuwa Kaunda, which Nyasa Times has seen, commands the cheerful legislator to surrender his K7 million worth of property to Mhone to offset the outstanding legal cost.
“I command you that of he good and chattels of Symon Vuwa Kaunda within your jurisdiction you cause to be made the sum of K7 million and also interest thereon at 5 percent from the 7th day of July, 2021, to the time of payment, which said sum of money and interest were lately before me in the High Court of Malawi in a certain action wherein Raphael Joseph Mhone is the petitioner and Symon Vuwa Kaunda is the respondent adjudged to be paid by the said Symon Vuwa Kaunda to Raphael Joseph Mhone together with certain costs,” reads the court order.
“And that of the goods and chattels of the said Symon Vuwa Kaunda within your jurisdiction you further cause to be made the sum of K7 million together with interest thereon at the rate of 5 percent per annum from the 7th day of July, 2021, and that you have the money and interest before me in my said Court immediately after the execution hereof to be paid to the said Raphael Joseph Mhone in pursuance of the said judgment. And in what manner you shall have executed this my Writ make appear to me in my said court immediately after the execution thereof. And have there then issued this Writ,” concludes the order dated July 29, 2021.
The order, which bears the signature of the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and the Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :