Four state agencies – Office of the Attorney General, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) — are demanding a total of K944 million from former presidential bodyguard Norman Chisale and six other defendants.
The demand comes after Chisale and the others lost a case in which they challenged a preservation order for their property worth over K1.7 billion.
According to court documents, the office of the Attorney General is demanding K381 million from him.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has confirmed the development.
“Chisale took us to court challenging the constitutionality of the preservation order,” he said.
Other court documents show that ACB, FIA and DPP are demanding a combined K562.7 million.
Director of public prosecutions DPP Steve Kayuni also confirmed to have filed the demand in the court.
“During our coordinated efforts, we secured the preservation process under the Financial Crimes Act but Mr Chisale and others ended up dragging the agencies to the Constitutional Court. There they lost and costs were awarded. The state is claiming these costs as enormous taxpayers’ money was lost in the litigation process,” Kayuni said.
The High Court in Blantyre, sitting as a Constitutional Court, dismissed with costs the application which Chisale and six others made.
According to the High Court order, each of the three institutions shall retain its taxed costs.
Lawyer representing Chisale, Chancy Gondwe, said he has not been served with the court documents.
“We will give response when we are served with the documents,” Gondwe said.
Delivering their ruling in January this year, Constitutional Court judges Dingiswayo Madise, Kenan Manda and Anneline Kanthambi said the preservation order secured by the Director of Public Prosecutions was not a violation of Chisale’s rights to privacy and to own property.
“The DPP was acting within his mandate under the law when he instituted civil proceedings under the Financial Crimes Act in the original court. Preservation Orders are part of the combined regime which constitutes preservation orders as the first step, and forfeiture,” reads the ruling.
The state early last year confiscated 86 motor vehicles and 21 real estate properties, including residential houses and commercial buildings belonging to Chisale and his associates.
The preservation order was secured at the High Court following an application by the DPP, FIA, ACB and Malawi Police Service (MPS) Fiscal and Fraud Department.
During the hearing, Chisale’s lawyer, Gondwe, argued that there was need to look into the context in which right to own property is limited under the Financial Crimes Act, arguing that one cannot just wake up, and come up with a preservation order without being heard.
“This is a new piece of legislation. It has to be relooked into if at all the provisions are consistent with the Constitution,” he said.
But Nyirenda argued that there were questions over Chisale’s assets considering that he was earning less than K500, 000 per month, hence the preservation order that sought to establish his source of the property.
“When we talk about the right to own property, we are not talking about the illegitimate property. We are talking about the right to acquire property that has been legitimately earned,” he said.
The ruling meant that the state would continue controlling the property as the defendants are still suspected of committing several financial criminal offences.
The DPP obtained the order in February 2021.