MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former president Bakili Muluzi is demanding compensation from government for false imprisonment, physical inconvenience and defamation for his arrest in May 2008 in connection with an alleged treason case.
In his letter of claim to the Attorney General (AG) dated January 17 2012, Muluzi warns he will take legal action against government should it not admit the claim and settle it within three months.
Through his lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, Muluzi argues that as former head of State and leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF), he suffered total embarrassment and humiliation through his detention.
In an interview on Wednesday, Kaphale said the amount of damages is not yet known, but said it is negotiable and depends on the claimantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s social and political status as well as rank both locally and internationally. Kaphale said the extent of the publicity of the incident is another contributing factor.
Muluzi claims that his arrest at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) was captured by all local and international media, causing untold loss of confidence by the people who trusted him.
Reads the letter in part: “He [Muluzi] was a few days later taken to the High Court [in Blantyre] where the police failed to convince the court as to why he should be under house arrest. He was given bail and the case [has] never proceeded.”
The letter says while Muluzi was in the United Kingdom receiving medical attention, President Bingu wa Mutharika addressed a rally in Nkhata Bay where he alleged that some people were planning to overthrow his government.
The letter says that within days of that statement, some serving and retired police and Army officers, including UDF officials, were arrested and detained.
Kaphale states that upon his arrest, the former president was put on a military aircraft despite his pleas to be allowed to stay at his Area 9 house in LilongweÃ¢â‚¬â€having just travelled overnight from London.
AG Maxon Mbendera could not pick his cellphone on Wednesday on several attempts The Nation made to find out how government was going to handle the claim.