Professor Danwood Chirwa

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—South Africa based but Malawian born legal mind, Danwood Chirwa, has added his voice on the ongoing debate on the K754 million ‘scam’ that will see former Principal Secretary Christopher Makileni going away with K755 million from the government coffers.

The former employee Makileni, who was redeployed to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) in 2014 during the Peter Mutharika administration, demanded compensation saying his official vehicle, a Toyota TX, was taken away and that he had stayed at home for months without being given any duties which he regarded as constructive dismissal.

According to an Industrial Court consent order dated 4 August, 2020, Makileni has been awarded K216 million as pension, K205 million for loss of motor vehicle, K270 million as salary before tax and K63 million fuel allowance.

The order was signed by Registrar of the court, lawyer for Makileni, Paul Maulidi and Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe.

The consent order has attracted criticisms from ‘patriotic’ Malawians who feel that the amount is far from being realistic, thereby concluding that  that there is a nasty agreement between the Attorney General  and Makileni.

Among the critics of the consent order include legal activist LordDenning QB and social commentator Onjezani Kenani.

LordDenning questions the rationality of the Applicant’s resolve to claim loss of salary yet he was getting salary while at home and carrying out no work.

 “The Applicant was at home, not reporting for duties while earning salary every month, and he claims loss of use of Government vehicle and demands the Government to compensate him with money equivalent to buying 3 new vehicles. And these vehicles are to be turned into his personal property,” he said.

But some lawyers including Sunduzwayo Madise, a lecturer at the Chancellor College, have argued in support of the Attorney General and Makileni on the matter.

In response, Professor Chirwa has expressed surprise to see well trained lawyers in Malawi supporting the shady deal which is aiming at systematically defrauding the government.

“Shocking to see a group of Malawian lawyers willfully engaging in misinformation and trying to silence the public about matters over which citizens have the right to speak. This is unprecedented. The public is by right interested in all suits brought against the state, and where settlements are reached with the state, the government has a duty to account to the people for those settlements.

“The questions that have been raised about the Makileni consent order are valid and well made. The public uproar has resulted in a quick reversal of the decision by government which is now contesting the damages. That is a good thing,” said Chirwa in his facebook post on Wednesday.

“Dr Silungwe is my friend. He’s received a lot of flack for his role in the consent order — for good reasons. He fully understands that he holds a public office that requires him to account both to his employers and to the public. I am very sure that none of the lawyers who are attacking critics are doing so with his consent or on his behalf. He’s a man of integrity,” he added.

Meanwhile, the government has challenged the consent order at the Industrial Relations Court through lawyer Thabo Chakakaka Nyirenda.

Government also wants the IRC to set aside the contempt proceedings as it seeks out court settlement.

Nyirenda confirmed that OPC has instructed him to challenge both the consent order and the contempt of court proceedings.

Makileni’s lawyer Paul Maulidi confirmed the process of negotiating the settlement.

“The Attorney General and OPC are now suggesting new terms and other ways of solving the matter including redeployment of my client. So, we will see what we can settle for,” he said as quoted by an online publication.

He, however, insisted that there was nothing wrong with the K750 million jackpot.

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