21 September 2017

Malawi: CSO's Sue Malawi Ruling DPP Over Blue Night Donations - Demand Refund

Five civil society organisations (CSOs) pushing the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to refund money from some State enterprises have finally filled a lawsuit against the DPP after terminating the dialogue process.

CSOs, through their lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, lodged the court summons at High Court registry in the eastern city of Zomba in miscellaneous Case number 41 of 2017.

But DPP spokesman Francis Kasaila said the party is yet to be served with the lawsuit and that it will "get the court processes" when it gets the summons.

According to the lawsuit, the CSOs are demanding the governing party to pay back all the money it received during the 'Blue Night' and that the court should declare that the donations were in contravention to the doctrine of public trust, the Malawi Constitution as a well as Section 23 and 76 of the Public Finance Management Act and the law generally.

The CSOs also want an order from the court compelling DPP to refund all the money "within a reasonable but specific time-frame."

The court is also being asked to to issue a "prohibitory order" against DPP from ever souricng or accepting donations from any public funds or public institutions "unless the same comply with the relevant legal framework."

On July 29 2017, DPP held a fundraising dinner and dance at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where Blantyre City Council (BCC), Mzuzu City Council (MCC) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), among others, made financial contributions totaling K13.5 million.

Under Section 178 of the Constitution and Section 23 of the Public Finance Management Act, no single kwacha of public money is supposed to be expended unless such expenditure is authorised by an Appropriation Act or is a statutory expenditure.

The five CSOs pushing for the refund are Youth and Society (YAS), Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Church and Society Programme, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC).

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