One of Lilongwe Water Board (LWB)’s clients Judith Laja is demanding an apology and compensation amounting to K50 million for defamation and character assassination.
On May 20 this year, LWB advertised in local newspapers—The Daily Times and The Nation— a notice naming and shaming clients with bills and illegal metre connections, claiming that, through such acts, the clients had defrauded the institution money amounting to over K2.4 billion.
A letter to the water utility body, dated May 24 2021, through Khonyongwa and Associates Attorney at Law, indicates that Laja is demanding a retraction of the notice to appear in the same newspapers for a period of seven days.
“Furthermore our client claims the sum of K50 million, being compensation for defamation and injury to her reputation as well as the mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment and public ridicule your publication has caused,” the letter reads.
According to the letter, Laja is financial controller at Latitude 13 Degrees Hotel.
“The foreign-based owners take very seriously issues of ethics and integrity. Your ill initiated publication has a high potential of jeopardising her employment,” the letter adds.
The client further argues that the board never did a thorough investigation, adding that she moved out of the house eight years ago.
Efforts to get a reaction from LWB proved futile Sunday.
According to LWB, between July and December 2020, it investigated and confirmed a total of 77 water theft cases, where a total of K67.7 million was administratively charged in penalties.
The cases, already in Malawi Police Service case files, are being prosecuted in the country’s courts, according to information sourced from the board’s website.