The High Court in Zomba has set December 4 2019 for mediation in the case some CSOs are demanding a refund of money some State organs donated to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) July 29 2017 Blue Night at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
The institutions are Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), Lilongwe City Council (LCC), Blantyre City Council (BCC) and Mzuzu City Council (MCC). The financially-struggling MCC had earlier signed a consent order withdrawal of its K3.5 million pledge to DPP.
The mediation follows the decision of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge Dunstan Mwaungulu, who in February this year dismissed an application by DPP and the four State corporations to set aside a High Court judgement on the case.
Reads the notice dated October 22 2019: “Take notice that hearing of mediation in the matter herein will be held on 4th day of December 2019 at 11 o’clock in the fore-noon at Zomba District Registry before Honourable Justice Mtalimanja.”
The notice has been sent to lawyers for the civil society organisations (CSOs), Kawelo Lawyers, and for .the defendants, Excellence Law Partners, Sikwese and Company, Attorney General Chambers and M/S Francis Franklin & Co.
During the fundraising dinner and dance branded ‘Blue Night’ at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on July 29 2017, where President Peter Mutharika was the guest of honour, DPP allegedly received about K13.5 million from public institutions, a gesture the CSOs argue amounted to misuse and abuse of public resources.
The CSOs pursuing the case are Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Youth and Society (YAS), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Livingstonia Synod’s Church and Society Programme.