Government says it is ready for a showdown in court with former information minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda regarding his K30 million claim of compensation following his recent arrest at KIA.
The Nkhata Bay Central legislator was last month arrested at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) during his trip to Belgium while on parliamentary duty. Police claimed he violated one of his bail conditions.
When Vuwa Phiri was taken to court two days later, the court allowed him to proceed with the journey. And when he came back, the legislator sued government for unlawful arrest. He demanded K30 million.
“I was embarrassed. I was detained with the young men, who saw me urinating in a bottle. This was pathetic and I have written them demanding compensation,” Vuwa Kaunda told The Nation last week.
However, government has responded to his clam for compensation. According to a letter dated April 12 2013 to Vuwa Kaunda’s lawyer, Chimwemwe Sikwese, Attorney General (AG) Anthony Kamanga has vowed to challenge the matter in court.
“I refer to your letter reference number SC/SKS/141 dated April 2 2013 in which you claim on behalf of Honourable Symon Vuwa Kaunda the sum of K30 million for imprisonment, malicious prosecution and defamation.
“Please be advised that government will not entertain your client’s claim and will strenuously contest and contemplated litigation,” wrote Kamanga.
Sikwese acknowledged receiving the letter from the AG, but stressed that it would not stop him from proceeding with the damages claim.
“I got the letter from the AG, but that will not destruct us from proceeding with the claim. We are going ahead,” said Sikwese on Saturday.
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs spokesperson Apoche Itimu on Thursday insisted on the claim that government did nothing wrong that would warrant such a claim.
“We are maintaining that the order obtained by Mr. Vuwa Kaunda on March 16 2013 was defective in that it did not allow him to travel outside Malawi; hence, his arrest at the airport,” said Itimu in an e-mail response.
But Vuwa Kaunda wondered why government did not arrest him for the second time if the order was defective.
“It’s all politics. They are afraid because I have demanded compensation. But we will not stop, we will proceed,” he said.
Vuwa Kaunda and other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials, who are on court bail, are facing treason charges over circumstances surrounding the death of former President Bingu wa Mutharika. n