Former Malawi president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s widow, Callista, has asked the High Court to remove Mutharika’s daughters as administrators of the deceased estate.
Callista, who does not appear as a beneficiary in Mutharika’s will tendered in court as part evidence for a case where the State has frozen the former president’s bank accounts, on Wednesday asked the court to revoke the letters of administration.
The former first lady, who is already engaged in other legal battles with Mutharika’s children over the deceased property, also wants the court to give a consequential order that Duwa and Tapiwa fully account to the deceased’s estates for whatever they have done with or under the power of the said order.
Callista wants the letters of the administration surrendered to the court forthwith and presiding High Court Judge Godfrey Mwase has set this Friday to hear the application.
According to Mutharika’s “last will and testament” written in March 2008, barely a year after the death of his first wife Ethel, the former president did not revise it after he married Callista in 2010. His two daughters—Tapiwa and Duwa—remain administrators of the multi-billion kwacha estate.
Amid a court battle where government is claiming K5 billion (about $12.5m) in unpaid estate duty from the K61 billion (about $152m) worth deceased estate in real estate and cash, Callista, through her lawyers, filed the application asking the court to set aside an order that granted letters of administration to Duwa and Tapiwa on May 31 2013.
Separately, Callista’s lawyer, Louis Ulaya, appeared before the court when the matter on estate duty claimed by the State came up for all parties to be heard yesterday for summary attachment of property, and he made an application for his client to join the matter as an interested party.
But lawyer for estate duty commissioners, Lusungu Gondwe, objected to her joining the case at this time and the judge, who heard the matter in his chamber, said a date would be set for that application. Callista wants a right to audience.
The matter on the estate duty, however, did not proceed because there are new lawyers that have joined to represent the Mutharika family and they would want to make their input into the matter. The team includes lawyers Kalekeni Kaphale, Julius Nyambo and Frank Mbeta.
The court adjourned the matter to July 17.
Callista said there is also a court matter that emanated from her obtaining letters of administration in respect of the same deceased estate.
She states it was agreed in the interest of all parties involved to hold comprehensive negotiations to resolve all the said matters in respect of the administration of the said deceased estate.
Callista said at one of the negotiation meetings in April this year attended by Mutharika’s brother Peter, Duwa, Tapiwa and Madaliso and their lawyer George Mwale, her lawyer James Tomoka and herself, the issue of the will was mentioned, but one of her lawyers pointed out there and then that by operation of the law, the will, which was written in March 2008 prior to her marriage with Bingu, was revoked by the deceased’s subsequent marriage to her.
Mutharika, according to the will The Nation sourced, distributed his multi-billion kwacha wealth estate to his children, brother and grandchildren among others.
Mutharika ruled for eight years before his death in office.