Martha Chizuma in court over audio today
The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court is today expected to be the centre of attraction as Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma takes plea in the case surrounding the leaked audio which came out last year.
Court documents Thursday indicated that Chizuma allegedly injured High Court Judge Simeon Mdeza and former Director of public prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni in the audio.
The suit by Mdeza and Kayuni brings to four the number of people who have claimed injury against the said audio after Zuneth Sattar’s close associate Ashok Kumar Sreedharan and Frighton Phompho filed suits over the same recording.
Initially, Chizuma was expected to take plea Thursday but failed to do so because the State had not served her with court documents.
Chizuma’s lawyer Martha Kaukonde Thursday confirmed that plea-taking in the case would probably take place today.
The court documents from the State Thursday opened a can of worms as to whether Mdeza really sued Chizuma on the matter.
Asked whether Mdeza was among the complainants in the case, Kaukonde said the judge himself was better placed to answer that question.
Efforts to speak to Mdeza proved futile while Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal Kondwani Banda asked for more time as he was in a meeting.
The summoning of Chizuma also raised a question as to who authorised the move in the absence of a DPP. This is so because new DPP Masauko Chamkakala is yet to be confirmed by Parliament.
In an interview Thursday, Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament Chairperson Peter Dimba said the committee is concerned with the summoning of Chizuma.
Dimba said, after its meeting Thursday morning, the committee has so many questions on the matter which could be answered by Justice Minister Titus Mvalo.
Among others the committee questioned as to who instituted the criminal prosecution against Chizuma in the absence of the DPP.
“Section 99 of the Constitution is very clear. It is the DPP only who can institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court other than a court martial and not the Chief Police Prosecutor who has signed the summon,” Dimba said.
In another development, the Malawi Human Rights Commission announced Thursday that it has commenced investigations into the arrest of Chizuma and subsequent events that have unfolded.
In a statement, MHRC Executive Secretary Habiba Osman said the probe follows a complaint that Chizuma lodged that her rights were violated when she was arrested.