Former Flames coach Ernest Mtawali has won a case in which he sued Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and its vice-president James Mwenda for defamation.
High Court of Malawi Judge Joseph Chigona has since awarded Mtawali damages for libel.
The former Flames mentor was claiming general and special damages over broadcast and published articles, in which Mwenda, as the local soccer governing body’s technical sub-committee chairperson, alleged that the coach was fired due to “lack of planning and managerial skills and, to some extent, discipline”.
Passing judgement in Blantyre yesterday, the judge said FAM and Mwenda have been found liable in defamation because there was enough proof that the published words disparaged Mtawali’s reputation.
“I, therefore, award damages for libel to the plaintiff. Amount of damages will be assessed by the registrar so that Mr. Mtawali should be compensated.”
Following the verdict, the judge told Mtawali’s lawyer, Zwelithini Chipembere, to prepare and file an assessment bundle that will determine how much his client should be awarded.
Mtawali and Chipembere were present in court yesterday, but the defence was only represented by lawyer Michael Stenala Chisale.
Excitement was the prevalent emotion for Mtawali.
Sporting a black suit, a smiling Mtawali said after the ruling: “I am now relieved that I have been vindicated in the case. Truth shall always prevail no matter how long it takes. God is great! I will not say much except to thank my lawyers.”
Chisale refused to comment on the outcome of the case, saying he had not been authorised by his clients to talk to the media.
The case went into full trial almost nine months ago after the two parties failed to resolve the matter through mediation.
FAM hired Mtawali as Flames head coach with Burundian Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan as his assistant on a one-year contract in August 2015 after undergoing successful interviews.
During his reign, Mtawali won six games, lost six and drew five.