The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by Youth and Society (YAS) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) to replace Malawi Law Society (MLS) in the Salima- Lilongwe Water Project case.
In a ruling dated December 22 2017, Supreme Court of Appeal judge Lovemore Chikopa said the wishes of both CHRR and YAS have not been granted because at the time of making the application, whatever proceedings had existed between MLS and the respondents, Khato Holdings, had ceased to exist after leave had expired and there was no renewal.
The judge also said the application for extension of time cannot be granted as both YAS and CHRR have no standing to bring the application and are not yet to become parties to the proceedings in respect of whom the order was sought aside from the fact that they did not have a good reason on the basis of which extension could be granted.
Reacting to the ruling in a telephone interview on Sunday, CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo said they would fully comment after meeting their lawyer.
He said: “I think for now we cannot say much because we have not met with our legal counsel yet. But that is the purpose of justice, it has all sorts of outcomes.”
Mtambo said they would decide on the way forward on the matter after analysing the ruling.
MLS wanted the High Court to review a decision by Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) to award Khato Holdings a contract for the project before an Enviromental and Social Impact Assessment was done.
However, in October, Chikopa dismissed the case stating all parties in the matter before the High Court ceased to exist upon the expiry or lapsing of the time MLS should have filed substantive summons for leave for judicial review.
But in an application to the Supreme Court, YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka, through lawyer Bright Theu, argued that since Chikopa’s decision, MLS has not taken any steps to have the matter prosecuted.
The civil society organisation also wanted the court to extend time within which to lodge the matter before a full court for the reversal, variation or setting aside of the decision of the single appeal judge, Chikopa.