The Lazarus Chakwera administration believes some compensation claims by some lawyers are fraudulent reportedly for being too hefty.
Ironically, President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima had demanded K9 billion as legal costs after winning the Presidential Election case. The Courts granted the two leaders & their lawyers K7.3 billion, about 0.4% of the national budget.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda recently revealed that his office is scrutinising about K0.8 trillion claims – this is about 42.11% of the current national budget.
He, however, complained that some claims filed by lawyers are hefty. According to Nyirenda, some lawyers just dream up figures when filing the claims.
“I have got so many claims where lawyers are claiming and manufacturing clients’ issues. Total claims are in hundreds of billions, close to K800 billion,” said Nyirenda.
He then warned that his office will commence disciplinary or even criminal proceedings against lawyers who file unreasonable claims.
“The law is clear. When you are filing a case in court, you make a sworn statement, stating that whatever is said is true to the best of your knowledge and you understand that when you say something that is false, you will be liable for perjury, said Nyirenda who was appointed by President Chakwera in August.
Nyirenda’s remarks come months after Chakwera and Chilima demanded K9 billion Leal costs for the elections case.
Chakwera and Chilima challenged the outcome of the 2019 presidential election in which Peter Mutharika was declared winner.
As the elections case was at the Constitutional Court, Mutharika and MEC asked the Supreme Court of Appeal to dismiss the case on technicalities. But the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal with costs which were later set at K323 million.
On February 3, Chakwera and Chilima won the elections case and the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the ruling after Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and Mutharika appealed.
In both cases, MEC and Mutharika were ordered to pay legal costs. Chakwera and Chilima demanded a total of K9 billion as legal fees for the two cases.
However, they were paid K7 billion by taxpayers after an assessment by the court.