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Judiciary hesitant on internal ombudsman

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BANDA—It may be not
practical

Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal Kondwani Banda has said establishing a Judiciary ombudsman as suggested by some quarters would be duplicating the already existing channels within the system that handle complaints and grievances.

In a statement he issued in the context of the two-day National Anti-Corruption Conference which ended in Blantyre Tuesday, human rights activist Undule Mwakasungula a Judiciary ombudsman would be ideal in the wake of reports of corruption against some judicial officers.

But Banda said in an interview that upon assuming office four months ago, Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda established the Judicial Complaints Committee which handles grievances that people have against this arm of government.

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He added that on corruption-related complaints, there is a Judiciary Institutional Integrity Committee that takes care of everything.

“It is a brilliant idea but may not be as practical because, currently, we have existing grievances and complaints handling mechanisms which the Chief Justice has taken time to champion and ensure that they are as effective as possible. Need I say that there are also resource implications attached to the suggestion,” Banda said.

He said the public ought to appreciate that the challenges that may be faced by the Judiciary are multifaceted and may not have one solution.

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Banda then appealed to Malawians to be reaching out to his office as a point of contact for the Judiciary whenever they have concerns.

“Complaints can either be administrative, technical or judicial. Upon scrutiny every issue we receive is channelled to an appropriate entity to be addressed. At this point, maybe we should be talking of resourcing and enhancing the manpower in the system,” he said.

In recent months, reports have been rife that some judicial officers including judges are involved in corrupt practices.

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