Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly evidence that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General is facing no charges in relation to her recent arrest.
Meanwhile, according to Justice Minister Titus Mvalo, the commission of inquiry into Chizuma’s arrest is expected to complete its task in a week, after which a decision will be made on the next step.
Prior to the assurance, parliamentarians spent most of Thursday morning hours debating on the matter, with the opposition side proposing that the august House be suspended until Mvalo’s appearance in the chamber to answer questions on the matter.
After health break, First Deputy Speaker Madalitso Kazombo communicated to the august House that the AG had informed Parliament that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni had withdrawn his complaint to police.
Based on that complaint, police had effected the arrest of Chizuma on Tuesday.
According to communication from the Office of the Speaker, but read in the chambers by Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Kazombo, Kayuni complained in his personal capacity and not as DPP.
“Miss Chizuma was not taken to any court to be charged. It follows, therefore, that there is no charge before any court of law in Malawi to be withdrawn.
“The Malawi Police has assured the office of the Attorney General that no further action will be taken against Miss Chizuma,” Kazombo told the House.
When Mvalo was responding to questions from legislators, he explained that Kayuni was suspended to avoid interference with the commission of inquiry because he has the power to instruct police.
He added that the DPP has been in Zambia on official duties but, after his suspension, he promised to be back in the country yesterday.
The inquiry will also establish why the matter turned to be a criminal matter instead of civil one.
“The reason of setting a commission of inquiry is to know the truth for proper closure of the matter. That is why we thought it better to inquire into the matter and find out the truth so that those responsible may face the consequences,” he said.
Government Deputy Chief Whip Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the government side “is happy” that the charges have been withdrawn.
“We want the Director General [of the ACB] to have a conducive environment for her to work properly because she has a lot of work [to do]. So, we want to make sure that she has a conducive work environment and is not intimidated or harassed by anyone in this country,” Kandodo Chiponda said.
Prior to the discussion, disagreements ensued in Parliament as members of opposition parties demanded that Mvalo be present in the House to present evidence that Chizuma’s charges were withdrawn.
Government Chief Whip Jacob Hara and Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda assured the House that the minister would be present later in the day after attending the swearing-in ceremony of judges at the State House.
The disagreements followed Nankhumwa’s request that Mvalo be in the House.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.