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Malawi Law Society speaks on Saulos Chilima corruption allegations

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Chrispin Ngunde

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has called for a speedy and lawful resolution of Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s alleged involvement in corruption to avoid any possible political impasse.

In a statement released on Sunday, June 26 2022, MLS President and Honorary Secretary Patrick Mpaka and Chrispin Ngunde say Chilima’s naming and President Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to withhold delegated functions is a complex situation which can easily create a political impasse.

“The announcement by the President, if implemented, entails that, possibly, the President may not be seeking further assistance or conferring any further functions to the Vice President until the corruption allegations on the part of the Vice President are resolved. It means that the Vice President will strictly remain with those functions given by the Constitution or some other statute.

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“For example, under Section 92 of the Constitution, Cabinet is composed of the President, the Vice President, ministers and deputies so that the Vice President will remain a member of the Cabinet because of the Constitution. Any function ascribed by the Constitution or an Act of Parliament to the office of the Vice President is not affected by the President’s decision to stop delegation,” the statement reads.

MLS, however, notes that the Vice President is not immune from criminal prosecution under the Constitution, adding that, without prejudice to the legal presumption of his innocence, he remains liable to criminal prosecution if the Anti- Corruption Bureau or any law enforcement agency has reason to believe in his potential guilt.

“The Malawi Law Society, therefore, recommends quick and lawful resolution of the issues that have given rise to the situation so that the country can move forward as one unit knowing the state of potential guilt or innocence of the country’s Vice President and avert the impasse that can be created by a sustained state of uncertainty. We, therefore, call upon all institutions and State agents and organs if and whenever it falls within their competence to play any role in dealing with the corruption allegations against the Vice President to support the Anti-Corruption Bureau in its pursuit of any legal process that the bureau may deem appropriate.

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“We also call upon members of the Vice President’s political party or the general public to avoid taking actions and steps that may be perceived to seek to obstruct or impede the course of justice in the matter concerning the allegations of corruption by the Vice President seeing that, under sections 13 and 30 of the Constitution, all persons and peoples of Malawi have the right to development and enjoyment of economic progress and that the State, in this case, led by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, must take measures aimed at eradicating social injustices such as corruption,” MLS adds.

UTM supporters thronged Chilima’s residence in Area 43 on Friday amid reports that the ACB was due to interview him on his alleged involvement in businessman Zuneth Sattar’s suspected corrupt dealings.

On Thursday last week, Chilima dismissed the allegations levelled against him.

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