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Judge condemns corrupt magistrates

Judge-in-Charge of the Supreme Court, Edward Twea, has challenged magistrates in the country not to use poverty as an excuse to indulge in corruption when exercising their duty.

“Poverty is no excuse for crime. There are more poor people in this country than there are in prison. So if all the poor people outside there, wanted to use their poverty as a crime, we wouldn’t contain them. So, as it has been said, it is actually the lack of integrity of an individual that drives corruption not poverty.

“So that has to be made clear that no one should use low salaries; poor conditions of service within the judiciary or any other institution; the state or the private sector to justify corruption. It is a matter of integrity,” Twea said.

He was speaking Monday in Lilongwe at an anti-corruption and integrity workshop for magistrates themed: “Enhancing the capacity of the judiciary in fighting corruption and economic crimes” organised by Citizens for Justice (CFJ).

Some magistrates said that their salaries alone could not keep them going for a month, hence are tempted to get resources from other sources which are not recommended.

CFJ Board Member, Bernard Ndau, said the workshop had come at the right time when the country is plagued by Cashgate cases. He said magistrates need to share experiences and knowledge on how to deal with corruption.

“Cashgate, the plunder of an estimated $250 million of public money, has taken the very core of our society as well as the confidence and trust that our people had on all branches of government. We take keen interest to read of the enviable decisions that are passed in magistrate’s courts even outside the cities, not just in urban areas,”

said Ndau, adding that the workshop was funded by Trocaire.

During the two-day workshop, the magistrates will, among others, look at judicial ethics and discipline; common corruption risks in criminal justice institutions and frameworks and mechanisms for judiciary accountability in Malawi.

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