Despite the court order, Government has stayed four years without paying compensation to a boy whose legs was amputated following a wrong medical treatment at Queen Elizabeth central hospital in Blantyre despite the court order.

The frustrated boy’s grandfather, Zabula Phiri, says he has concluded that laws and justice in the country do not favour the poor.
In 2011, the court ordered government to compensate the Ndirande Township based Calvin Kavalo K11.7 million for the amputation.

According to court documents, the 11-year-old boy, who is now in Standard 3 at Makata Primary School in Blantyre, was given a wrong malaria treatment at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in 2005 when he was just one year old.
He was admitted at the hospital and doctors administered a drip on the leg as they could not locate the veins, her grandfather said.

The drip ended up malfunctioning and Calvin’s leg was paralysed leading to amputation.
His grandfather sought legal redress in 2006 and the court compensated Calvin with K1 million in August 2007. However, Calvin’s relatives appealed against the ruling.

In May 2012, the court awarded Calvin K11.7 million with K3 million for pain and suffering he endured, K5.5 million for disfigurement, K3 million for loss of amenities and K270, 000 as special damages for post-injury expenses.

However, to date, government is yet to pay the money which his grandparents say would have helped the boy in his education.

“When it comes to the law, I believe there is no equality at all. It only favours the rich. I am afraid, these delays will shutter his education dreams,” said Phiri.
Phiri’s inquiry with the office of the Attorney General in April this year has not offered them hope either.

A letter from the Attorney General’s office, which we have seen, acknowledges receipt of damages assessment order.
“I acknowledge receipt of the order on assessment of damages on the matter. Please check with us on the progress made within a month as Treasury /

Accountant General will be written to process payment,” reads the letter dated April 16, 2015, signed by Chief State Advocate Richard Santhe.
However, four months later there is still no response.

Calvin currently uses an artificial leg which his grandparents say they find hard to replace as it costs K15 000.

Human rights lawyer, Justin Dzonzi, said the government should not be above the law.

“The problem is you cannot garnishee a government account or sheriff its property. It is hard to enforce these determinations against government. But government ought not to be above the law,” he said.

Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, said if the matter was indeed referred to him, then he already signed and forwarded it to Treasury.

“Ask Treasury. Every day I sign and recommend payments to Treasury. I do not allow payment orders to spend a night on my desk,” said Kaphale.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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