By Sundu Madise
One of the country’s legal experts Sundu Madise takes on Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s personal assistant Sean Kampondeni’ comments for the MK7 billion legal fees Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has been ordered to pay Chakwera and his deputy Saulos Chilima for 2019 presidential electoral case victory.
Here is Kamponden’s comments:
7 BILLION KWACHA QUESTIONS
- Does anyone really believe that if the two Petitioners had lost the elections case at the Constitutional Court, the bill their lawyers would have presented to them for legal services for eight months would have been 7 billion kwacha?
- If not, doesn’t the State’s loss of the case with costs mean that the tax payer should only pay either whatever bills the lawyers would have charged their clients had they lost or whatever bills they agreed to when they negotiated the terms of representation with their clients?
- Even in the unlikely event that the 7 billion kwacha bill is more reasonable than extortionate, is there a reason tax payers are not being told how much of it will be shouldered by each of the two respondents, just as taxpayers have been told how much of it will be awarded to each of the two petitioners?
- And if the triumphant lawyers have chosen to burden the taxpayer with such a bill as their just recompense, should the lawyers still be regarded in the court of public opinion as sacrificial contributors to the cause of justice in the court case or should their public esteem now be reduced to something more mercenary?
- Doesn’t this bill justify and warrant a repeal of the general approach of assessing legal costs only after a trial instead of continuously throughout the trial so that the court already knows the costs on each side when it is delivering a judgment on costs?
Kodi Brian Banda, kufunsa chonchi nkulakwa?
Sundu takes on; Sean, as Executive Assistant to the Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, you should desist from such posts. Because of the position that you hold, you can no longer distinguish guide your writings as Sean the private individual from Sean the President’s Press Secretary.
Your post has gone viral and the comments are around the fact that “wamkati uyu.” It’s as if you have been sent by the President. Or have you?
That said, you post takes off from the wrong premise. You confuse Solicitor and Client Costs with Party and Party Costs.
Your first question is evidence of that confusion. Unfortunately , your second question derives from the wrong premise in the first one.
The third one also indicates you have not read the ConCourt and Supreme Court judgement. Costs were only awarded against the Electoral Commission and not former President Peter Mutharika. So referring to the two respondents is misleading and wrong.
I infer you have not read the judgement because even your fourth question is wrongly framed.
The “triumphant lawyers” as you call them have not chosen anything. First of all it’s the President and Vice President who were triumphant. And it is because of that triumph that you are Executive Assistant.
The lawyers were simply hired by them. However, to the more substantial issue, costs are awarded by the Court. Even the assessment is done by the Court.
In this case it is the Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal. You have a problem? Blame the courts. Calling them mercenary is beneath you and I will not dignify that with any more comment.
I cannot fathom your fifth question. What do you mean repeal of the general approach of assessing costs? You should know that legal fees are gazetted in law. Are you proposed repealing the law?
Maybe you should approach the Attorney General and Minister of Justice who I am sure you interact more than us commoners. However, having called the mercenary, hhmmnnnn.
Lastly but not least, isn’t it rich that you of all people are saying this? Is the journey now looking easy because you have crossed the desert?
Are you really ready to throw lawyers who stood by and with the President for almost a year under the bus in this manner.
Do not be fooled, it was the ingenuity, their methodology and their dedication to their duty that ensured the triumph of the petitioners. You applauded them then, do not vilify them now.
As you execute your duties at state house, do you really think the lawyers you have demeaned publicly here deserve this?
Spare a thought Sean, spare a thought.