MEC to pay South African lawyers K600 million for Malawi elections appeal case

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has hired South African lawyers who will be paid about K600 million to represent the commission in the presidential elections appeal case.

MEC chairperson Jane Ansah has confirmed hiring the lawyers Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys at an agreed fee of US$788, 500 (over K580 million).

According to a document by the law firm’s directors Caiphus Mboweni and Hlawu Maluleke, 50 percent of the fee is payable in advance on or before 13 March, 2020.

The other 50 percent is payable to the lawyers upon finalization of the appeal case and the agreed fee covers all the services the law firm will provide.

“If at any time you want to cancel the retainer you must give at least 20 business days written notice of such cancellation. We will be entitled to recover any loss suffered by us as a result of such early cancellation of the agreement by charging you 50 percent of the agreed fee as a cancellation fee,” the lawyers say in the document.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Law Society has written the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda clearing lawyers for the law firm to practice in the country’s courts.

MLS Secretary Martha Kaukonde has told Nyirenda that Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza and Elizabeth Makhanani Mere can be admitted as legal practitioners in the elections case.

“The Malawi Law Society has examined the application and it considers that the applicants have satisfied the statutory requirement hence has no objections to the application. If it pleases you my Lord Chief Justice you may grant the application,” Kaukonde says.

The Constitutional Court last month nullified the 2019 presidential elections over widespread irregularities and ordered MEC to conduct fresh elections.

The Commission, however, appealed against the ruling at the Supreme Court and the appeal case will start next month.

In the Constitutional Court, MEC was being represented by Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale but last month the court barred Kaphale from representing the commission.

 

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