The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDc) has asked the new Tonse Alliance led government to investigate billions paid to Leston Mulli-owned firms for destructions suffered during the 2011 protests.
Mulli: Had payment in an out-of-court settlement
In a dubious and questionable manner Capital Hill abandoned a default judgement appeal in the Supreme Court in favour of a Release Agreement that saw Mulli getting coupon bonds worth K3 048 557 708.71 in an out-of-court settlement.
That payment to Mulli—a ubiquitous figure in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party who at the time of the payout owed government K4.9 billion in unpaid loans at the defunct State-owned Malawi Savings Bank—was authorised on April 13 2019.
HRDC has since written the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the office of the Attorney General to investigate former Attorney Generals, Kalekeni Kaphale and Charles Mhango for abuse of office on the alleged payment of MK 14 billion to Mulli companies.
Both Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe and ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba acknowledged receipt of the letter.
In a letter signed by HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence dated August 11 2020 addressed to the ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba and Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe, the human rights body said it has information in its possession that Kaphale agreed with lawyer for the claimant, Tamando Chokhotho, on ‘ridiculous’ interests to pay the two companies K14 billion against a High Court determination that ordered government to pay the claimant K3,048,557,708.71 as compensation for the damages and loss of business.
In the letter, HRDC expressed surprise with Kaphale’s decision to effect payment based on High Court order when the matter was in the Supreme Court and that the order on file was in favour of government. The human rights body accuses the former AG of abusing his powers and making decisions against public interest.
“Our investigations show that the office of the Attorney General applied and successfully set aside this judgment on the ground that the matter was too contentious to be disposed of summarily like that. The Attorney General also obtained a stay order stopping implementation of the judgment.
“The two companies, through their lawyer Tamando Chokhotho, appealed to the Supreme Court against the ruling. This was during the Joyce Banda administration. Despite the appealing, the two companies never sought a date for hearing,” reads the letter in part.
The letter further alleges that former Solicitor General Janet Banda [now deputy secretary to president and cabinet] refused to effect the payment in 2014 when she was approached by the owners of the two companies.
In the letter, HRDC alleges that Mhango, the then Attorney General, agreed to effect payment of K3, 048, 557, 708.71 based on a High Court order of October 3 2014 in a release agreement that was signed on April 13 2018, but the figures ballooned to about K14 billion.
HRDC alleges that it has information that the former Attorney General effected payment to the claimants in February 2020.