The High Court in Lilongwe has faulted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vicepresident for the Central Region Hetherwick Ntaba for aladministration of a deceased estate belonging tohis relation in which he was one of the executors.
Zione Ntaba, now a judge of the High Court based in Zomba, asked the court to revoke the granting of letters of administration to Maxwell Ntaba, Jean Ntaba, Emily Ntaba and William Ntaba and reverse the sale of a house in Lilongwe’s Area 12 which she claimed was
fraudulently sold against the wishes of her late father, George Maurice Justice Ntaba.
The daughter also wanted the court to declare that her uncles and aunts misrepresented facts to the Commissioner of Lands that the house was transferred to them.
The High Court has since revoked the letters of administration which the
uncles and aunts obtained “fraudulently” and orderedthe Commissioner of Lands to cancel Zione Ntaba’s uncles and aunts as owners
of the house.
Zione Ntaba was appointed administrator of her father’s estate in
2009, replacing Dr Ntaba—who is also President Peter Mutharika’s aide—as the adminstrator after she embarked on an inquiry of the deceased estate.
The court heard that barely a month after Zione Ntaba obtained an order
restraining any dealings on the house without consent from her, her uncles and aunts obtained letters of execution and sold the house to Alice Namata not long after.
Reads the judgement in part: “The defendants said as per the consultations
between the mother to the plaintiff [Zione Ntaba], the adminstrators and
defendants, the estate was properly shared amongst the beneficiaries that the house in issue was given to the mother of the deceased.”
But in a judgement delivered on June 16 2017, High Court judge Charles
Mkandawire found that Dr Ntaba’s affidavit as former
administrator of the estate lacked seriousness and was not made in good faith.
Mkandawire said Dr Ntaba knew that Zione Ntaba had replaced the executors as the new administrator of the estate, but found it ‘strange’ that
he did not inform the uncles and aunts to the new administrator.
The judge also found that Dr Ntaba and the Administrator General violated a clause in the deceased’s will by giving the house to brothers and sisters
of the deceased because there was an express wish that any mortgaged house should not be sold but the income from the property declared and distributed between beneficiaries.
“The executors who were Dr Hetherwick Ntaba and the Adminstrator General had violated Clause 6 of the will if they gave plot Alimaunde 12/124 to the 2nd to 5th defendants.
It is also very clear from the evidence that there is scintilla of evidence to show that Phyllis Ntaba, widow of the deceased, was involved in any discussions involving the plot,” observed the judge.
The judge also found it strange that the executors could give the plot to
the defendants without evidence of transfer yet they the same executors
transferred a Blantyre plot in 2006.
“What prevented the executors from doing the same? The only explanation
is there was no such transfer,” he said.
The court further said Dr Ntaba should have appeared in court to tender oral evidence because he was central to the case as he was the trustee of the estate alongside the Administrator General.