Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda has said some of the factors contributing to the backlog of cases in the Judiciary are corruption cases the government branch is handling.
Mzikamanda, who was speaking in Mzuzu City Thursday, on the sidelines of joint training for magistrates on financial crimes and corruption, said it was worrying that the country’s courts are overburdened with corruption cases.
The Chief Justice said corruption has become difficult to deal with because it keeps on changing in the way it manifests.
“You can go back to a number of chief justices; the previous one spoke about it, the one before him also spoke about it. So, corruption is a problem we need to deal with decisively,” he said.
Mzikamanda also said the Judiciary also has to clear conceptions that it has some corrupt elements.
“We acknowledge that there is that perception, a perception that there is corruption in the Judiciary. This workshop is part of efforts we are making to equip judicial officers with skills in terms of how to deal with issues of corruption in the Judiciary and beyond,” he said.
Mzikamanda added that they have drafted a bill that will clear the path for the establishment of a financial crimes court.
“The draft bill is with the Ministry of Justice for scrutiny and, perhaps shortly, it will be presented to the Cabinet and, come the next meeting of Parliament, it might be tabled,” he said.
Anti-Corruption Bureau Director-General Martha Chizuma, who attended the event, said they believe that there are two tragedies as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.
She said the first tragedy pertains to a Judiciary without integrity, with a Judiciary that has no necessary skills and expertise to fight corruption identified as the second obstacle.
“You know financial and corruption crimes are very complex cases and most of the suspects are very powerful people who can afford the best of lawyers. Sometimes, if you are a magistrate or judge who is not grounded in financial and crime-related cases, it would be difficult to handle such cases,” Chizuma said.
She added that one of the challenges the bureau is facing is that the general populous has a lot of expectations, where people want a case to be concluded in the shortest but unrealistic period.
The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Authority.