Treasury pays Tonse lawyers K5 billion legal fees

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Dr Chilima with some of the lawyers

LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – Government has paid fees for lawyers who represented President Dr Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Dr Saulos Chilima in the historic presidential election case.

Treasury spokesperson Mr Williams Banda confirmed the news, but declined to provide details of the outlay.

He said: “Government has finally paid what was determined and claimed at the High Court and the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal. I cannot state the actual amount. In terms of the list of which lawyers have been paid, I may need some time.”

The High Court awarded Chakwera and Chilima over K5 billion in legal costs which was to be paid by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) whose administration of the elections was faulted by a panel of five judges that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election.

The court initially ordered MEC, which was the second respondent in the case, to pay lawyers for the petitioners over K7 billion, but the amount was reduced, on review, to around K4 billion.

The court ordered Chakwera, the second petitioner, to be paid K2.1 billion, and first petitioner Chilima to be paid K1.9 billion within 14 days.

MEC chairperson Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale said at the time the commission would challenge the legal fees.

One of the petitioners’ lawyers, Mr Khumbo Soko yesterday declined to comment on the matter.

Minister of Justice  Mr Titus Mvalo and Attorney General Dr Chikosa Silungwe represented Chakwera and Chilima, respectively, in the case.

Court records indicate that a total of 13 lawyers represented Chakwera and Chilima.

Chakwera’s legal team was led by Mr Modecai Msisha, SC, a veteran lawyer who declined a Cabinet appointment after Chakwera and Chilima took over government following their triumph in the court-sanctioned June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election.

Dr Chilima with some of the lawyers

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