- Malawian accident victim Phyllis Mautanga has successfully sued the Libyan and Malawi governments for kwacha 9.5 million (euro 62,000) as compensation following a car accident in 2000 that involved one of the vehicles in the convoy of Libyan Leader, Muammar Ghaddafi, and Malawi's former President, Bakili Muluzi. She now is pleading with the two governments to urgently release the money.
Ms Mautanga, widow to a late Malawi army General, successfully sued the Libyan government for kwacha 6.5 million (euro 42,000) and the Malawi government for kwacha 3 million (euro 20,000) as compensation following the accident, which happened five years ago in the Malawian village of Ntcheu.
Recounting on how the accident happened, Ms Mautanga said while in Dedza, the police stopped traffic, including her vehicle because Libyan Leader Ghaddaffi and former President Muluzi were about to pass on their way from Lilongwe to Blantyre, Malawi's second city.
"After the convoy had gone, a land cruiser with a foreign number plate which was driving on the right hand side instead of the left as is the case in the country hit my stationary car," she explained. She accused the police of ignoring Malawian victims at the accident scene, saying they only rushed to help the foreign accident victims.
After a long struggle for a compensation, Ms Mautanga has now won her case against the governments of Libya and Malawi. The ruling on Libya in a Malawian court followed a default judgment the court entered after the Libyan government had failed to challenge the law suit in the court.
"The kwacha 3 million that I was offered was compensation that came due to my injuries but looking at what I had lost due to my state that I am bound to a wheel chair, like I was building a house and lost my business, so I went to court to sue Libya," she said. Prior to the accident, Ms Mautanga was running a catering business at the city centre in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
According to Ms Mautanga, on 17 July 2005, the office of the Attorney General, which was handling her case, gave her a kwacha 500,000 cheque without any explanation. Officials from the Attorney General's office could not be reached for comment.
Ms Mautanga said the Libyan government gave her a new vehicle to replace the one that was involved in the accident. She accused both the Malawi and Libyan government of failing to send her to South for treatment, saying she used her own money to go to South Africa with a guardian. After she arrived from South Africa, she was sent to a rehabilitation centre in Malawi.
She said her condition is worsening because of lack of physiotherapy exercises, saying the Lilongwe Physiotherapy department promised to be picking her at least twice a week but a therapist only came once. 2I struggle with nerve pains daily. I suffer from spasms because of the pain. I am in pain 24 hours. I can die anytime because of my health condition," she said.
Ms Mautanga added that she was not happy with the uncaring attitude of officials of the governments of Malawi and Libya.
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