LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The High Court on Monday, August 10, 2020 ordered Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to foot the MK726,463,920 (about US$975 thousand as legal charges to President Lazarus Chakwera and his vice Saulos Chilima for wining the 2019 presidential election case.
Surprisingly, Chakwera and Chilima lawyers charged for thousands of hours in a day with 24 hours during trial.
We understands that the money is enough for almost building 400 schools and to employ 2000 interns with full salary for a year.
But the money is going to be paid in the bank accounts of both Chilima and Chakwera respectively as were the first and second petitioner in the election case.
Initially, the amount had been billed at MK9 billion. However, negotiations were entered into which have seen the scaling down of the figure with about MK2 billion.
According to the final figures that have been signed off by Registrar of the Judiciary Agness Patemba, first petitioner who is also Vice President Saulos Chilima will be paid MK2,314,184,550 (about U$3.1 million) as costs for the initial case.
President Chakwera will walk away with the biggest sum as he has been awarded MK3,086, 203,890 (about US$4.2 million) in costs.
However, MEC and former President Peter Mutharika have been directly billed as well to pay Chakwera and Chilima.
Mutharika has been billed MK877,760,000 (about US$1.1 million) as an appellant against the judgement of the High Court that was sitting as the Constitutional Court.
The Commission has been therefore billed MK726,463,920 (about US$975 thousand).
The total amount that the Chakwera and Chilima will receive will be MK7,004,612,360 (US$ 9,402,164.24).
Our sister paper Malawi24′ research establishes that the total amount that will be paid to the two, including from Mutharika, is enough to build a total of 376 schools in Malawi.
According to the website of Arup, a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London which provides engineering, architecture, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of the built environment, building a school in Malawi costs MK18,625,000 (U$25,000).
Taking U$25000 as the standard total, 376 schools would therefore be built from the amount that the holders of the office of the Presidency will receive for successfully having the election nullified and then winning in the subsequent fresh election.
We have also established that the amount can be used to pay 2000 civil servants at Grade I, which is an entry grade for a Degree holder, for a year.
Currently, there are over 4000 interns in the public service who are awaiting for employment from government. At a salary of at least MK260,000 per month, the money would cater for 200,000 of them for a year.
Meanwhile, it has been registered that in billing on the Court case, lawyers for the duo had billed thousands of hours in a day when a day naturally has 24 hours.
The Court specifically pointed to 23 and 24 July where lawyers for the two claimed that they had done work for thousands of hours in just two days.
The Court struck off some of such costs and effectively brought the amount down to MK7 billion from MK9 billion which the two had demanded in costs.
Meanwhile, the two are expected to get their money in a maximum of 45 days from August 10, 2020.
Both Chakwera and Chilima are yet to comment on the landmark ruling of the legal fees expected to be into their accounts.