Attorney General appeals immigration chief appointment case
The High Court sitting in Lilongwe has granted the Attorney General (AG) leave to appeal its earlier decision of allowing a judicial review in a case in which an immigration officer is challenging the appointment of Charles Kalumo as Chief Immigration Officer (CIO).
President Lazarus Chakwera appointed Kalumo as CIO in August last year.
However, Chikhulupiliro Zidana sought a review of the matter and, on February 17 2023, Judge Mike Tembo found that issues raised by Zidana merited a full hearing of the case and granted him permission to apply for judicial review.
The decision did not go down well with AG Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, who argued that the court erred in so many aspects when considering the application and that he was not happy with the entire ruling, hence the application for leave to appeal.
Among other things, he blamed the court for accommodating the matter when they are purely labour rights-related and ought to have been brought before the Industrial Relations Court.
“The learned judge erred in law and in fact in failing to hold that the claimant suppressed material facts when applying for permission for judicial review,” the notice reads.
The AG is also of the view that the court erred in proceeding to determine the application before making his determination on the notice to cross-examine the claimant on the contents of his sworn statement,” the notice indicates.
On Monday, Chakaka Nyirenda said the court order speaks for itself.
However, Zidana’s lawyer John Kalampa described the decision to appeal as misguided and meant to frustrate the court process.
“Our position remains the same. The decision made by the President was illegal. The court found as much at this stage. We will continue pursuing the judicial review because we believe that the appeal is devoid of any merit,” he said.
Zidana is challenging that Chakwera’s move to appoint Kalumo was illegal and irrational, arguing that such powers are vested in the Minister of Homeland Security.
He also argued that his appointment was illegal as the individual appointed was not a serving member in the public service as required by Section 3 of the Immigration Act and that he had surpassed the age limit of 60 as stipulated in section 29 of Public Service Act.