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Court orders LCC, MHC to pay 50% in Lilongwe faecal water case

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High Court Assistant Registrar Anthony Kapaswiche has ordered Lilongwe City Council (LCC) and Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) to pay, within 30 days, 50 percent of the K4.2 million that each of the 325 victims of Area 18 sewage contamination is supposed to get as they await the outcome of the appeal of the case.

On December 13 last year, the court ordered the two institutions to pay the victims a total of K1.3 billion, translating to K4.2 million each, as compensation after Lilongwe Water Board Lilongwe Water Board supplied the residents of Area 18 A with water that was contaminated with faeces in 2017.

This was after the board’s supply pipes burst underground, next to a broken sewer system, allowing sewer water to get into the supply pipe.

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Dissatisfied with the assessment of claims, MHC filed a notice of appeal on December 23. On the same day, LCC filed an application with the High Court seeking the suspension of the enforcement of the order pending the outcome of the appeal.

But, in a determination delivered on March 4, Kapaswiche notes that the appeal to the Supreme Court is purely on the magnitude of the damages, which MHC and LCC believe are excessive.

He noted that the outcome of the appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal could either be maintaining the K4.2 million per claimant damages or reducing it.

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“In my appreciation of the circumstances of the present case, justice requires that both the interest of the claimants be protected while, on the other hand, protecting the interest of the respondents.

“The only reasonable way is to ensure that the claimants are still able to access the fruits of their litigation while waiting for the determination of the Supreme Court. This court, therefore, deems that a partial stay of execution is just and reasonable to both parties,” the ruling reads.

He said both LCC and MHC should pay K682.5 million which caters for 50 percent of the assessed amount of damages.

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