Former President Bakili Muluzi has dragged the government to court over his 2008 arrest on alleged treason which he says was “wrongful and without reasonable and probable case”, court documents show.
Muluzi is therefore demanding compensation for what he calls false imprisonment, defamation, physical inconvenience and malicious prosecution following the ordeal he went through during and after the arrest.
He further supports his claim by saying those that were arrested with him in the matter were released and got compensated.
“The persons that were arrested on the same charges as the plaintiff [Muluzi] were released and have successfully sued the government for false imprisonment, defamation… and have since been paid compensation,” reads Muluzi’s papers in court.
He says the police had no reasonable grounds to arrest him and had no honest belief in his guilt and culpability.
“The arrest of the plaintiff was, therefore, wrongful and without reasonable and probable case,” reads court documents filed by his lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale.
The papers say Muluzi’s arrest at Kamuzu International Airport (Kia) was widely reported by both local and international media, consequently causing untold loss of confidence by the people who otherwise trusted him, hence the need for compensation.
The documents further show that Muluzi is challenging the state that it does not have sufficient grounds to support its treason charges drawn against him, as evidenced in the release of his co-accused and failure to commence his prosecution.
The documents show that following the state’s failure to admit and settle the claim within the stipulated three months, the court entered into default judgment which paved way for compensation.
Though the state successfully obtained a court order stopping execution of the said default judgment, the court later resolved to assess the compensation Muluzi is demanding.
The assessment has since been adjourned two times on October 25, 2012 and last Thursday, November 22, as both parties did not appear before the court.
The court is yet to set another date to assess the damages Muluzi should get.
Muluzi was arrested on his return from the United Kingdom in 2008, charged with treason, quizzed by police and placed under house arrest.
This was after the late President Bingu wa Mutharika had alleged that some people were planning a coup against his government.
Armed police without warrant of search raided his residence and searched it but the search yielded nothing.
Muluzi then had laughed off the coup plot charges as he said he was not a violent person to take over government by force.
Charges against his eight co-accused including a former army commander and police chief were dropped.
The eight sued the government for unlawful detention and were compensated, according to Muluzi’s documents.
Other than this case, Muluzi is also answering charges by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which is prosecuting on allegations that he diverted K1.7 billion of public money into his personal account when he was president between 1999 and 2004.
Muluzi denies the charge. This corruption case has been adjourned to next year because of his health problems.