Government readies for Martha Chizuma battle

Chrispin Ngunde

By Cathy Maulidi & Rebecca Chimjeka:

The government has challenged the court order that prevented it from going ahead with the decision to interdict Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma.

Chizuma was interdicted after Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba indicated, in a letter dated January 31 2023, that this was in connection with the leaked audio as well as a criminal case which the State commenced at the Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court.


In the letter, the SPC indicated that the allegations constitute serious misconduct of a public officer.

However, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) challenged the decision, culminating in the High Court staying the decision to interdict the ACB chief.

In the latest development, the government has, through Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, hired Kalekeni Kaphale, George Kadzipatike and Chancy Gondwe to represent it in the case.


Kaphale is a former AG.

“I, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, SC [Senior Counsel], Attorney General for the Republic of Malawi of Private Bag 333, Lilongwe 3, Malawi, do hereby authorise and appoint Mr Kalekeni Kaphale, SC, of Kalekeni Kaphale Lawyers, Mezzanine Floor, ADL House, City Centre, P.O. Box 31876, Lilongwe 3, to act for the 2nd defendant in this matter,” Chakaka Nyirenda’s communication, dated February 7 2023, reads.

Gondwe’s and Kadzipatike’s letters from the AG carry the same message.

The first defendant is police prosecutor Levison Mangani, the second one being the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate, with Zamba appearing as the third defendant.

Chakaka Nyirenda confirmed the development Tuesday, saying, since he is government legal counsel, he cannot represent one branch in a case against another branch. Chizuma is, by virtue of her office, a public officer.

In an interview, Kaphale indicated that he was yet to get the communication.

“It [the communication] has not reached me yet. Since I am based in Lilongwe, I will get it tomorrow, I guess, after which I can take an interview,” Kaphale said.

We had not managed to get comments from Gondwe and Kadzipatike by press time.

Meanwhile, MLS Vice Chairperson Chrispin Ngunde has described the move by the AG as a normal legal process.

“But we are reconstituting our team in preparation for the move,” Ngunde said.

And our sources at the Judiciary confided in us that Zamba and Mangani have hired private lawyers to challenge Chizuma.

When High Court Judge Mike Tembo stayed Chizuma’s interdiction, he indicated that all processes in the subordinate court (Magistrate Court in Lilongwe) should stop until a judicial review.

“Pending such judicial review or pending any further order reflected in the summons and charge sheet order criminal case No. 236 of 2023 of 25th January 2023 and in the interdiction order of 31st January 2023 under reference No. SPC/001 to respectively issue a summons and charge sheet and an interdiction order against the current occupant of the office Director of ACB, Ms Martha Chizuma, on account of complaints premise on leaked audio recording without any allegations of bad faith in with the summons, charge sheet or interdiction order be and are hereby stayed,” the court document reads.

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