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Msundwe rape case costs hearing Tuesday

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The High Court sitting in Lilongwe will Tuesday hear oral submissions of the State’s application to review Women Lawyers Association (WLA)’s K255,684,112 bill which was awarded as costs for handling the Msundwe women’s rape case.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson  confirmed the development Sunday.

“We did everything and what remained was the date,” he said.

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WLA represented the women, who claim to have been raped by Malawi Police Service (MPS) agents who went to restore order in Msundwe, Mpingu and Mbwatalika areas at a time residents did not want former president Peter Mutharika to hold a rally there.

The women lawyers, who offered the services pro-bono (free-of-charge), later charged the state K255 million after the High Court ordered it to pay costs on top of awarding the women a total of K130 million.

The bill was heavily criticised by sections of the society.

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Malawi Law Society described the fees as unusual and unjustified while Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) called on WLA to address concerns over the K255 million bill.

An MHRC report into the matter showed that the women were, indeed, raped.

However, a leaked MPS report on the allegations indicated that the claims were fake.

A third investigation into the matter by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was expected to start on October 1 this year but was postponed because IPCC was yet to set an investigation team with women investigators to handle the investigations.

MPS took a back seat in the investigations and let IPCC take the wheel due of fears of bias if they were to remain part of the probe.

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