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Anti Corruption Bureau ignores Chief Justice

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has ignored Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda’s call to attend a hearing that would have determined if it is worthy to certify former president Bakili Muluzi’s K1.7 billion alleged fraud case for judicial review in the constitutional court.

On April 13, 2015 Justice Mclean Kamwambe, who is presiding over the case, referred the matter to the Chief Justice for certification following the defence counsel application on April 8.

However, in May this year, the ACB ignored the hearing summons by the Chief Justice that both parties should present their arguments for and against the application by the defence counsel.

In an interview Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed that the ACB did not show up despite communication from the Chief Justice.

“As such the Court failed to hear the matter, so what I would say is that the Chief Justice is planning to arrange for a new date very soon whereby both parties should appear before the court and make their submissions.

“Following those submissions the Chief Justice would weigh the arguments in accordance with the powers vested in him, then make a certification either to have the matter held in the Constitution Court or may be referred back to the High Court,” said Mvula.

He said the matter could have already been dealt with had it been that ACB did not ignore Justice Nyirenda’s call.

He added: “If they still fail to show up, then the constitution is clear, it guides us whether to enter into default hearing and come up with a judgement.”

In an interview on Wednesday, ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala said she was not aware of the development.

However Ndala requested for an email questionnaire which she had not responded to by our press time.

The defence counsel laid three grounds for Nyirenda to certify the case to the constitutional court.

Among other arguments the defendants contend that the late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s conduct in using criminal proceedings to harass the applicant, was purely on political reasons not based on his responsibility to defend and uphold the constitution and to provide executive leadership in the interest of national unity as provided for in section 88(1) of the Constitution.

The defence also questions the former Attorney General and Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau’s conduct in attempting to fabricate evidence against the accused’s right to fair trial provided for in section 42(2) of the Constitution.

They further say the former president’s conduct in instructing the ACB Director to arrest Muluzi and the subsequent arrest and consent to prosecute by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) undermined the independence of the bureau and DPP.

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