Engineering and construction giant Khato Civils has asked laywer Bright Theu to pay K100 million as legal costs for a case in which he represented civil society organizations who abortively asked the court to stop Salima-Lilongwe Water Supply project.
Weeks ago Supreme Court of Appeal sitting as full bench ordered Theu to pay legal costs for the case while it concurrently threw out an application by Youth and Society (YAS) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) who wanted to join the case in which Malawi Law Society tried to curtail progress on the Salima-Lilongwe Water Supply project.
Khato Group Media and Public Relations Manager, Taonga Botolo, said in an interview that the estimates of the costs cover the whole time the case has been under deliberation both at the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal.
“On the issue of costs, as a company we have spent somewhere around K100 million or even more than that to pay up legal bills and other logistics since the court commenced sitting for our case almost a year and half ago,” said Botolo.
He further said Khato expects Theu to honor his side of the bargain failing which the company will seek legal redress.
“It is therefore our expectation that following the court’s determination on the costs accrued, counsel Bright Theu will honor his obligation to settle the costs as soon as possible or else we will be left with no choice but take legal action.”
Supreme Court dismisses CSO’s application on Khato’s water project; orders lawyer Bright Theu to foot all costs of the case
Theu in an interview with local media said he will only respond after he sees official communication from Khato Civils. Botolo indicated that they will dispatch the said official communication in due course.
Salima-Lilongwe Water project – which will pump, sanitize and transfer clean potable water from Salima to Lilongwe- came as a intervention to decade-long acute water problems in the Capital City which is also Malawi’s seat of government. Experts forecast that Lilongwe City will soon completely run dry owing to low water levels at Kamuzu Dam.
The 120-km project was conceptualized and designed as an EPC (Engineering/ Procurement/ Construct) also known as Design, Procure, Build, Commission (DPBC).
Initially, it was designed to pump and transfer 50m3 / day but the scope was later revised to 100m3/day, meaning Lilongwe City will be assured of undisturbed water supply for many decades to come regardless of the city’s rapid population and infrastructure growth.