Lawyers have objected to the hearing of former president Peter Mutharika and former Secretary to President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara’s application for review of costs assessments, saying they were not properly served with court documents as required by law.
When the court sat on Monday to hear the application for review of assessments of K69.5 million costs that the court ordered Mutharika and Muhara to pay, there were preliminary objections regarding the period that court documents were served on lawyers for Malawi Law Society (MLS), Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Association of Magistrates in Malawi.
The lawyers stated that they were served with the court documents late and that the servicing did not allegedly meet the 21 days required before the application can be heard.
The court has since adjourned to Friday to make a ruling on whether it should dismiss the application for review or proceed to hear.
In an interview after the adjournment, MLS lawyer Patrick Mpaka said they were not served the court documents in time despite that the court issued the documents on March 26.
He said some of the documents were served on April 13 and others on April 6.
Said Mpaka: “The court will decide whether it can still proceed to hear the application that has not met the required 21 days. The court will decide if the application stands or not.”
However, Mutharika’s lawyer Patrick Banda said the Association of Magistrates in Malawi and HRDC were served on March 31 and there was enough time for them to look into the submissions.
He said there was no point of having the application dismissed when their counterparts were served on March 31 and managed to meet the 21 days.
Mutharika and Muhara want the court to review the K69.5million legal costs that they were ordered to pay MLS, HRDC and Association of Magistrates in Malawi after they were faulted for sending Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice of Appeal Edward Twea on leave pending retirement.
The two believe the costs should have been on the lower side and want the court to come to their rescue. The review will determine how much Mutharika and Muhara should pay.
However, lawyers for MLS, HRDC and Association of Magistrates in Malawi already started the process of enforcing the order for costs. They served banks with third party debt order.