Kasungu Municipality Council chief executive officer (CEO) Stewart Ngoka, who was sent on leave pending an investigation, is claiming K50 million compensation for defamation from Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa.
Ngoka’s claim through a demand letter to the Attorney General’s Chambers by his lawyers, Mbulo Attorneys At Law, follows remarks by the minister during the African Day of Decentralisation commemorations in Lilongwe that Ngoka, alongside Nkhotakota district commissioner (DC) Felix Mkandawire, were sent on leave for allegedly being involved in corruption.
Writing on behalf of Ngoka in a letter dated August 31 2018, the lawyers said: “On August 10, during commemoration of African Day of Decentralisation held in Lilongwe, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, in his speech, singled out our client and Felix Mkandawire, district commissioner for Nkhotakota, who he said have been sent on forced leave due to corruption.
“It should be noted that in the mind of any reasonable person, the speech by the minister portrays our client as person who was involved in corruption and that he has been sent on forced leave as a way of showing government’s efforts in fighting corruption.”
Ngoka’s lawyers have since given government 90 days to explain how they intend to meet the claim failing which he will start legal proceedings.
In an interview on Wednesday, lawyer Leonard Mbulo confirmed writing the Attorney General Charles Mhango, saying his client’s moral standing in society has been lowered as people now perceive him as a corrupt CEO.
But when contacted on Wednesday, Mhango claimed the letter was yet to reach his office.
He said it is only after getting the letter that he can start acting on the issue.
Said Mhango: “It is unfortunate that the matter has reached the [media] first before reaching my office.”
Nankhumwa did not pick up his phone when called on Wednesday.