Malawi: Lawyer Bonzoe Soko Brands Chokhotho's Threatening Claims As Malicious

23 September 2020

Lawyer Khumbo Bonzoe Soko, who was spokesperson of the legal team for Vice-President Saulos Chilima in the presidential election nullification case, has denied claims by lawyer Tamando Chokotho, who represented Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the Constitutional Court that he threatened him.

Chokhotho on September 17 2020 reported to Malawi Law Society (MLS) that Soko, alongside another lawyer Marshal Chilenga, received intimidation threats and attempts to wrongfully influence him to abuse his duties as regards to subsequent developments in the case.

But in his response to the law society, Soko in his letter dated September 22 2020 denied charges of intimidation and alleged attempt to wrongfully influence Chokhotho in his conduct of the matter.

"I actually find the said allegations to be unreasonable, vile and malicious and specifically designed to injure my reputation as a legal practitioner," said Soko in his response.

He said Chokhotho's claims "actually border on harassment."

Soko said Chokhotho "conveniently omitted" to address in his letter that "this was not the first time that we have had conversations about elections case in general as well as the issue of party and party costs in particular."

In his letter to Malawi Law Society, Soko has attached screenshots of Whatsapp and Facebook conversations he had with Chokhotho.

"I must say that the decision of Mr Chokhotho to deprive your office of the full contests in which we had our exchanges is rather telling of his intentions and motive," reads Soko's letter.

He said lawyers are permitted to engage each other with a view to settling matters that are being litigated in court. According to Soko, this helps achieving expeditious as well as economic disposal of cases.

Chokotho claimed in his letter that after receiving orders on August 10 and 12 from the High Court Registrar's office on assessment of costs related to the election case with instructions to seek review of the costs, he was then communicated to that he should ignore the review process expected to be done by the court and proceed to pay, allegedly being warned to face consequences if he insisted in the review of the costs.

The letters have also been coped to Chief justice Andrew Nyirenda, Anti Corruption Bureau director general Reyneck Matemba, Blantyre Police Station officer-in-charge and MEC chairperson.

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