By Deogratias Mmana:
The High Court sitting in Lilongwe has ordered the Sheriff of Malawi to seize and sell property belonging to former president Peter Mutharika and his former chief secretary to the government Lloyd Muhara to satisfy payment of K69 million legal fees.
In a judicial review case, number 33 of 2020, Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda has ordered the Sheriff to sell Mutharika and Muhara’s property as first judgement and second judgement debtors, respectively, to recover K22, 070,335.89 to cover the balance after the two had paid K47,437,125.11.
The application for seizure and sale of the property was made by Human Rights Defenders Coalition Limited, Association of Magistrates in Malawi and Malawi Law Society— who are first, second and third enforcement creditors, respectively.
“And whereas the aforementioned respondents have only paid K47, 437,125.11 and they remain indebted to the applicants in the sum of K22, 070,335.89, you are hereby ordered to seize and sell all of the moveable property of the above named Prof Arthur P Mutharika and Lloyd Muhara, except that exempted from the seizure under the Sheriff’s Act, so as to realise the judgement debt in the sum of K22, 070,335.89 and the costs of your execution of this enforcement order,” reads the order dated April 4 2021, which the High Court Registrar has signed and addressed to the Sheriff of Malawi.
Mutharika and Muhara were ordered by the High Court to pay K69,507,461 on March 12 2021 as legal fees in a case where their decisions to send on leave-pending-retirement Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice of Appeal Edward Twea were challenged.
Twea retired last month.
One of the defence lawyers Charles Mhango’s phone was perpetually busy when we phoned for his comment.
Mutharika’s lawyer Charles Mhango told The Daily Times that he saw the court document, purporting to be an order of seizure, circulating on social media.
“At the moment, I have no instructions on the way forward. I just wish to say that, this notwithstanding, I remain hopeful that the court will be reasonable and hear my client’s application for the review of costs, which process has currently stalled because the court has not delivered its ruling on the preliminary objections raised on the date of review,” Mhango said.