/ 7 August 2007

Malawi cops raid home of judge in budget row

Malawi police and anti-corruption authorities have raided the house of a judge who ruled against President Bingu wa Mutharika in a row with the opposition over the country’s budget.

Fahad Assani, a lawyer for High Court Judge Joseph Mwanyungwe, told Reuters police and members of the Anti-Corruption Bureau raided the judge’s house on Monday night.

Mwanyungwe issued an injunction earlier on Monday allowing the opposition-controlled Parliament to ignore Wa Mutharika’s order that it reconvene to debate and pass his $1,2-billion budget bill.

The United Democratic Front and the Malawi Congress Party, the two main opposition parties, have refused to do so until a dispute over the poaching of their members by Wa Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is resolved.

The debate, which should have been concluded by June 30, was indefinitely suspended last month, leaving the government to run on a monthly skeleton budget and threatening to cut off essential services to Malawi’s 12-million people. — Reuters