Hon. Attorney General cross-examines witness in MK 110 billion claim

Hearing has resumed this morning of a case in which the Honourable the Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda and his team are challenging a K110 billion claim by two complainants over land the Malawi Government acquired in 1981 under the Land Acquisition Act for industralisation of Blantyre.

The AG is this morning cross-examining one of the complainants, Deepak Hathiramani. Last time hearing failed to take place because the complainant was unwell upon arrival at the High Court in Blantyre.

The land, 14.6 hectares, is where Chirimba Industrial Area is. A father to the two complainants bought the land in 1955 at 500 British pounds.

The two businessmen, Rajesh and Deepak, had a judgement entered in their favour years back by the High Court after the AG's office failed to defend the case. 

When the new AG, Nyirenda, came in office, he picked up the matter by undertaking assessment process to challenge the claimed amount before the Assistant Registrar of the High Court of Malawi and  the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Ibrahim Hussein.

Former president Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who was minister of Lands then in 1981, directed that the land be acquired at fair compensation for industralisation of Blantyre, according to the court record.

The complainants were offered K2 550, but they rejected the offer and they engaged lawyers to commence proceedings in the High Court.

In 2019, the claim was pegged at K837 million, but this year, 2023, an expert witness who is a valuer pegged the claim at K87 billion for loss of use of the land and lost opportunity and also K23 billion as interest. 

The AG is contesting these figures, arguing the 1981 valuation at K2 550 was a fair one and that government would be willing to pay equivalent of that at today's exchange rate.


The AG again engaged Surveyors Institute of Malawi ((SIM), which carried out an independent valuation of the land and the Institute has since submitted its report for use in court.

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