Mutharika, Muhara ordered to pay legal costs

The High Court in Lilongwe has ordered former President Peter Mutharika to pay legal costs for a court case in which Mutharika was faulted for attempting to fire Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

Former Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara will also pay part of the legal costs and the two will use personal money.

Judge Charles Mkandawire made the ruling today saying the two are law experts but they disregarded fundamentals of law in their attempts to fire Nyirenda.

The Registrar of the Malawi Judiciary has since been tasked to assess the legal costs.

On June 12, the Mutharika administration through Muhara wrote Nyirenda SC and Justice Edward Twea asking them to go on leave pending retirement.

Muhara claimed that Nyirenda had accumulated over 500 days of leave.

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition and the Malawi Law Commission challenged the move in court and applied for a judicial review on the decision.

In his ruling in August, Judge Mkandawire said Mutharika and Muhara interfered with roles of Judiciary since the issue of leave is handled by the Judiciary.

He added that the Judiciary is an independent arm and is equal to Parliament and Executive hence the Executive should not dictate affairs of the Judiciary.

Mutharika’s attempts to fire the Chief Justice failed and following Mutharika’s loss in the June 23 elections, the Lazarus Chakwera administration withdrew the notice to send Nyirenda on leave.