Court slaps APM, Muhara with costs

By Chancy Namadzunda;

The High Court has ordered that former President Peter Mutharika and former Secretary to President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara personally pay costs incurred in the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda forced retirement case.

High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire in September ruled that Mutharika and Muhara acted unlawfully on the matter where they attempted to send Nyirenda and Justice Edward Twea on leave as this was interference in the operations of the Judiciary.

Mkandawire however, reserved his ruling on whether the two should individually pay for the cost.

Delivering his ruling on the matter, Justice Mkandawire ordered that the two personally pay the costs as they acted defiantly and unreasonable.

“In the present case before me, the respondents had acted defiantly, were unreasonable, were not prudent, acted outside their constitutional mandate and very wanting. As it was already submitted by the applicants counsel, the two respondents are week seasoned lawyers.

“One a professor of constitutional law, the other a judge of High Court. They should have been very conversant with fundamentals of the constitution and in particular issues of separation of powers and judicial independence,” reads part of the judgement.

Justice Mkandawire has directed the Registrar to evaluate costs.

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (MAJAM), Malawi Law Society (MLS) and Women Lawyers Association sought judicial review on the forced retirement of the Chief Justice and Justice of Appeal Justice Twea.

The four parties sought the court’s intervention and the cases were consolidated into one and the matter was first heard on 9th July this year.

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