BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Women Lawyers Association (WLA) members risk to be disbarred following revelations that they carted home K255 million in the Nsundwe women sexual abuse case.
Government paid compensation to 18 women and girls who were allegedly raped by police officers around Mpingu and M’bwatalika in Lilongwe in 2018 last month.
In February 2020, the Women Lawyers Association (WLA) commenced civil proceedings against the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the Clerk of Parliament, Ministry of Homeland Security and the Inspector General of Police in Judicial Review Cause No. 7 of 2020 on behalf of the victims on pro bono.
According to a press release dated 19th July 2020 and signed by WLA President Immaculate Maluza, the civil matter was concluded successfully and the court ordered MPS to pay damages to the victims.
“On 9th March 2021, Assistant Registrar (Madalitso) Chimwaza sitting at Lilongwe High Court Registry issued a ruling on assessment of damages which determines the amount of compensation payable to each Applicant.
“Consequently, WLA would like to inform the public that the Government of Malawi has duly paid compensation to each of the 18 Applicants in JR Cause No. 7. The payment marks the conclusion of the civil aspect of the case,” reads the press release.
However, while the victims got compensated as per the general public desire, it has emerged that the lawyers carted home k255 million, a development that has angered many a Malawian.
“In the Nsundwe case the victims were awarded K5 million each and the lawyers are carting home a whooping K255 million. The 18 victims in total got K90 million and we were meant to believe it was pro bono! This is the maths people who went to poetry schools like Mulotwa Mulotwa won’t understand. Godot.” Wrote columnist Mulotwa Mulotwa on his facebook page.
Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda – a lawyer of repute wrote: “Women Lawyers Association [WLA] received funding from UN and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa to finance litigation in the Nsundwe case. All expert witnesses and incidental litigation costs were paid for by the donors. WLA should, therefore, refund the donors or account to the donors for the funds received.”
In his part, one of the famous legal commentator Negracious Justin, going by the name LordDenning SC on social media, has lambasted the women layers for duping the poor women who already suffered a mental and psychological torture at the hands of Malawi Police officers.
“I am told the “pro bono” lawyers who represented the Nsundwe women have carted home K255 million leaving their clients with K90million to share among themselves (resulting into K5 million each). Uku ndikuba uku (this is stealing). According to the lawyers, the women are too poor to get such a huge compensation. Izi sizowona (this is not fair). Something has to be done. Something needs to be done to protect these vulnerable women.
Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) Executive Secretary Habiba Osman says a statement will be issued on the K255m spondoolicks.
The 18 victims have gotten a meagre K5m each totaling K90 million, which runs pale to the K255m going to learned ladies.
Many Malawians have called such a jackpot as “obscene.”