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Court slashes John Kapito claim

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The High Court in Lilongwe has ordered the government to pay consumer rights activist John Kapito K4 million as compensation following his arrest in March 2012.

Kapito demanded K10 million as damages for false imprisonment, K10 million for breach of his rights to communicate and K80 million for defamation.

High Court judge, Charles Mkandawire on June 27 2016 found the government liable for false imprisonment, breach of Kapito’s right to communicate during the period he was in custody and defamation.

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In an order on the assessment of damages The Daily Times has seen, Assistant Registrar Patrick Chilunga-Chirwa says he took into consideration arguments advanced by both Kapito and the government.

“Under the head of breach of right to communicate, which lacks cases, and this court has just taken a nominal approach, it awards the sum of K100, 000. Under the head of false imprisonment, the court awards the sum of K1, 500,000. Under the head of defamation, the court awards K2, 500,000. It total, therefore, the court makes an award of K4,100, 000,” reads the order.

According to the court, any aggrieved party has a right to appeal.

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Kapito was arrested hours before leaving for Geneva, Switzerland, for a United Nations meeting in connection with charges of illegal possession of foreign exchange and being found in possession of seditious material.

“He was not allowed to speak to anybody. He told the court that he was prevented from communicating with his family and legal counsel and from making important official calls in his capacity as Chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights Commission. He fears that his moral standing was reduced to almost nothing both locally and internationally because of defamatory publications,” part of the document reads.

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