Former Malawi President Peter Mutharika and former Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara have been hit with a K69 million legal bill for a court case in which the two were faulted for attempting to fire Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.
Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa has announced the legal costs today.
Muhara and Mutharika will share the costs which will be distributed to applicants in the case with Human Rights Defenders Coalition and the Magistrate’s Association getting K26 million while the Malawi Law Commission will receive K43 million.
The two have been ordered to pay the money in 14 days.
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, the Magistrate’s Association 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 ordered Mutharika and Muhara to pay costs for the case.
Mutharika’s attempts to fire the Chief Justice and Twea came after the Constitutional Court nullified Mutharika’s win in the 2019 presidential elections. The ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal. Mutharika has always claimed that the Judiciary was part of a plot to remove him from power.