DPP in contempt of court, CSOs planning to drag it back to court

Erstwhile ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has found itself in contempt of court for disobeying a ruling delivered by High Court of Malawi judge Zione Ntaba at the Zomba Registry in June 2023.

The ruling is in relation to Blue Night case where the party was ordered to pay back to Malawians K13.5 million, which it stole through a staged fundraiser.

In the June 1 ruling, Ntaba ordered the DPP to pay back about K13.5 million that it got from parastatals during its gala dinner dubbed the Blue Night in 2027.

However, the party has not honoured the verdict, a development that has angered civil society organizations (CSOs), which dragged it to the court.

This publication understands that the CSOs, through lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa of Kawelo Lawyers, intend to file the contempt charges claiming the DPP has failed to respect the High Court judgement.

The concerned CSOs include Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Youth and Society (YAS), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Livingstonia Synod’s Church and Society Programme.

CEDEP Executive Director Gift Trapence, who was representing the other CSOs on the matter, confirmed with local journalists that they have instructed their lawyers to file for contempt.

“The DPP has not complied with Judge Ntaba’s ruling. They defied the court order. So, we instructed our lawyers to move with contempt of court application,” he said.

Mwafulirwa too confirmed being instructed to move the court next week since there is no stay on the judgement.

However, he confirmed that their counterparts (DPP legal team) already filed notices of appeal to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.

“There is no stay on that judgement, because the assumption is that without a stay, it means the judgement is still in effect. There is nothing that they have done, so far, in respect of all the directions and declarations that the High Court of Malawi made. So, we are filing for contempt,” he explained.

But DPP lawyer Chimwemwe Sikwese said they have filed an appeal.

“Where we are now is at the stage of filing an appeal to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal. But the problem that we have is that we don’t have a perfect judgement from the High Court.

“This would help us develop arguments; we know the judge has been busy. But we are pursuing an appeal,” he said.

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