Hearing of a case in which some civil society organisations (CSOs) want former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to refund K13.9 million in donations by public institutions is set to resume on October 11.
Through lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, the CSOs said they have received communication on the commencement of the hearing in the High Court of Malawi in Zomba.
He said: “We got the communication from the court about the date and we are ready for trial. Everything that is supposed to be done in terms of preparations was completed.”
Mwafulirwa said his team will parade one witness, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) national chairperson Gift Trapence.
The DPP is expected to go it alone as the government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that pledged or donated money towards the party’s fundraising drive dubbed Blue Night on July 29 2017 in Lilongwe withdrew from the case and signed consent orders with the CSOs.
The parastatals are Lilongwe Water Board, Lilongwe City Council, Blantyre City Council and Mzuzu City Council.
In an interview on Monday, lawyer for the DPP Chimwemwe Sikwese said the defence team received the notice of directions from the court. He said the team was putting its papers together in preparation for the trial.
In November last year, the court held a scheduling conference which marked the first step before full trial starts after the failed mediation talks.
The CSOs argued that the gesture by the MDAs amounted to misuse and abuse of public resources.
They sought a declaration of the court that the donations to DPP contravene the doctrine of public trust, the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.
In July 2020, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the DPP and the four MDAs to set aside a High Court judgement in the case.
The CSOs pursuing the case are Centre for the Development of People, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Youth and Society, HRDC and Livingstonia Synod’s Church and Society Programme.