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Battle over Bingu wa Mutharika’s estate getting ugly

The storm continues brewing for prospective beneficiaries of former Malawi president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s estate.

While the battle for Mutharika’s opulent residence Casa Blanca Manor at Ndata Farm in southern Malawi’s Thyolo district is still in court, former first lady Callista Mutharika on Tuesday obtained letters of administration of the deceased’s estate.

The letters, obtained at the High Court in Blantyre, effectively meant that the former first lady was in control of the estate, including the Casa Blanca Manor, the centre of the earlier fight.

But Mutharika’s children—Madalitso, Tapiwa and Duwa—within few hours of their step-mother’s move, rushed to the same court and managed to get an injunction at about 9pm, restraining her from administering the estate.

Through their lawyer Alfred Majamanda, the three argued they were dismayed that the step-mother on or about October 29 2012 applied, on her own, without involvement of family members of the late president, for the letters of administration.

In their affidavit in support of the injunction seen by The Nation, the Mutharika children argued that sometime after their father’s death in April 2012, they approached their stepmother and informed her of their intention to apply for the letters of administration. They said they suggested if she could be one of the administrators.

The children said, initially, the High Court refused to grant her the letters due to some technicalities, but granted her later, a development they believed was going to jeopardise their interests in the deceased estate.

High Court Judge John Chirwa, after granting the injunction to stop the former first lady from administering Mutharika’s deceased estate until hearing of the matter, ordered that should she want to apply to vacate the injunction, she should give her stepchildren two days’ notice of such intention.

The letters of administration Callista obtained through her lawyer Kingsley Mapemba read: “These are to certify that Callista Mutharika [Mrs.] has been duly appointed administratrix of the estate of the late His Excellency Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika who died in the Republic of South Africa on 6th day of April 2012 and is hereby authorised as such to administer his estate according to law.”

Madalitso, Tapiwa and Duwa also argued in their affidavit that the letters of administration are out of ill motive and she did not place advertisements in newspapers as is usually the practice informing the public.

Callista obtained an injunction earlier stopping Bineth Trust from evicting her from what she calls her matrimonial home she helped with building supervision, interior design and decoration.

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