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Court snubs DPP

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High Court Judge Zione Ntaba sitting at Zomba Registry Tuesday rebuffed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) request to dismiss the matter in which Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are requesting the party to, among other issues, refund the K13.5 million it collected from parastatals for a fundraising dinner dubbed Blue Night.

The CSOs are Youth and Society (Yas), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Development of People (Cedep), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP.

In her ruling, Ntaba said the matter shall continue and further called on the accused to take the matter a bit more seriously.

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“It is this court’s finding that the applicants are directly affected by the poor service delivery by the second to fourth respondents. All of them are human rights activists in Malawi and therefore seek justice. They have a prominent role in giving advice, guidance and assistance regarding human rights,” she said.

Ntaba further said the parties involved shall engage in mediation talks upon delivery of the ruling for the next two months to try and solve the matter amicably.

“The matter shall continue but the court has ordered that the parties must engage in mediation talks and the second respondent to the fourth should take it a little bit more seriously and mediate. The mediation talks shall be headed by Justice Redson Kapindu. If mediation fails, the parties shall make submissions based on mediation orders and the case shall come in court on June 16, 2018,” she said.

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Lawyer representing DPP, Chimwemwe Sikwese, said they will come up with their stand after reviewing the ruling.

“We will review the ruling and consult our respective clients and then decide the way forward, that is what we are going to do. That is all I can say for now,” he said.

Wesley Mwafulirwa, who is representing the five CSOs, said his clients are ready and willing to engage in dialogue over the matter.

“What I can say is that my clients trust the court. They trust the wisdom of the court at every event and, in this case, I am of the view that my clients are okay with the suggestion. And if you recall all along, my clients were willing to talk outside the court,” he said.

The CSOs sought an injunction order compelling DPP to refund the K13.5 million it collected and restraining it from ever sourcing and accepting donations from taxpayers’ funds.

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