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CSO’s drag DPP to court over parastatals’ money

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THE case in which the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is being sued for ransacking the various parastatals and city councils is expected in court this week, lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa has confirmed.

Mwafulirwa, who is representing five civil society organisations (CSOs) that have dragged the DPP to court on the matter, said in an interview Saturday that all paperwork has been completed and they would be heading to court any day within the week.

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 in the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP.

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The organisations last week in an official joint written communication gave a DPP a seven-day ultimatum to pay back the money it allegedly collected from the various public institutions towards its fundraising dinner event in Lilongwe last month dubbed the BlueNight.

After expiry of the deadline last Thursday Yas Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka said in an interview that the activists have no option but turn to the available established channels, in this case the courts, in an attempt to force the party to return taxpayers’ money.

“They have not responded and our paperwork is almost ready, we are geared to face them in court. Together with our clients, we stand by our case that what the party did was unwarranted abuse of power,” Mwafulirwa said.

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In Last week’s letter, Mwafulirwa warned the DPP that the conduct is criminal in nature and violates Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act which prescribes against private citizens’ inducement of public officers to abuse their positions.

“Forcing public institutions to fund a party event is illegal within the country’s current legal framework, every public expenditure needs to be authorised by a necessary Appropriation Act unless it is a statutory expenditure,” reads the letter in part.

Despite the mounting pressure the DPP has in recent weeks snubbed the calls with its various party officials led by Secretary General Greselder Jeffrey branding the sentiments stupid, rubbish and nonsense in separate occasions.

Recently, DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila declined to grant an interview arguing the party had said enough that it did not force anyone to contribute towards the function.

Four weeks ago The Daily Times obtained verified information that Blantyre and Mzuzu city councils committed K5 million and K3.5 million respectively towards the fundraising event while the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) gave the DPP K5 million.

Latest details indicate that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) and Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) committed K6 million each, alongside the National Roads Authority (NRA), National Food Reserves Agency (NFRA) and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) whose figures we are yet to verify.

Section 76 of the Public Finance Management Act provides that funds held by statutory bodies must only be applied for the purposes specified in the relevant empowering Acts.

 

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