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Judiciary helpless on Cashgate pardon

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The Judiciary has said it is helpless on the decision by President Peter Mutharika to pardon Cashgate convict Esnart Ndovi, saying his decision cannot be questioned because he is backed by the Republican Constitution.

Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, was responding to a question on Tuesday on feelings of the Judiciary following the surprise pardoning of Ndovi a few months before she was to complete her three-year jail term.

“We are different arms of the government. We meted out the sentence as the Judiciary and the President made the pardon as head of the Executive and we all derive powers from the same Republican Constitution. Therefore, we cannot question the President’s decision,” Mvula said.

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The comments come after some sections of society expressed concern over Mutharika’s decision to pardon Ndovi, saying this would send bad signals to would-be offenders.

Ndovi was among 378 prisoners Mutharika pardoned as part of celebrations marking Malawi’s 53 years of independence.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, said the decision was made based on Ndovi’s health.

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Justice Link Executive Director, Justin Dzonzi, said in a separate interview on Tuesday that Malawians should consider circumstances before arriving at conclusions.

“We should look at the circumstances that led to her pardoning. She was sentenced to three years in prison in 2015. She had already done two-fifth of her term and, therefore, she was due to be released in six months’ time. That is insignificant,” Dzonzi said.

Ndovi was convicted in 2015, on her own plea of guilt. She was accused of lending a certificate for personation and money laundering involving K12.9 million.

After pleading guilty, she surrendered a Toyota Hilux, whose value was said to be K15 million.

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