Malawi: Taxpayers to Pay K150m for Malawi Election Case - Judiciary

From left, MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera, President Peter Mutharika and UTM's Saulos Chilima.
19 August 2019

Taxpayers will have to foot an unplanned K150 million as costs for the the ongoing presidential elections case in the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, the Judiciary has said.

Judiciary spokesperson Agness Patemba told local radio that there is about K150 million which will be required to fund the elections case, saying the five judges have relocated to Lilongwe to hear the matter and that also has costs to the case.

"The case will spend about K150 000 000," Patemba said.

Patemba said the Judiciary expects the Treasury to continue injecting funds to the Constitutional Court to ensure the matter is not affected.

Constitutional Court to continue hearing the presidential election case from UTM Party presidential candidate Saulos Chilima, first petitioner, and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) counterpart, Lazarus Chakwera as second petitioner.

Depsite the K150 million, the taxpayers through Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will also pay K75 million to UTM legal team as party-to-party costs, following dismissal of an appeal to dimiss the case by MEC on Thursday in the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.

The claim letter, dated August 16 2019, from Nicholls and Brookes, for Chilima, to MEC lawyers reads: "In respect of the ruling in which the Supreme Court dismissed your client's appeal and ordered costs for the respondents... note that the party to party costs are in the moderate sum of K75 000 000.00. We demand payment within seven days."

The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed with costs an appeal President Peter Mutharika and MEC had filed to throw out the ongoing presidential election petition case at the High Court in Lilongwe, sitting as a Constitutional Court.

The ruling paved the way for the Constitutional Court to continue hearing the presidential election case.

President Mutharika will also pay costs which will likely be from the public funds.

There will also be a bill from MCP legal team.

MEC and Mutharika wanted the election petition case thrown out for being filed "irregularly" and "illegally".

Earlier on June 22, Judge Healey Potani, chair of the five-judge panel of Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu, Mike Tembo and Ivy Kamanga, sitting as the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, ruled against Mutharika and MEC to quash the referral case by Chakwera and Chilima, who are disputing the May 21 presidential poll results.

The MCP and UTM Party presidential candidates claim the presidential elections were rigged in favour of President Mutharika who was declared winner with 38 percent of the votes trailed by Chakwera with 35 percent and Chilima with 20 percent.

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