Martha Chizuma now off the hook

George Kadzipatike

By Cathy Maulidi:

The State Monday formally withdrew its appeal against the Malawi Law Society (MLS) injunction that quashed an interdiction which Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba served on Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma.

The process was done before Supreme Court of Appeal Justice John Katsala after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Masauko Chamkakala discontinued Chizuma’s case.


Confirming the development, one of the State-hired lawyers George Kadzipatike said the decision not to proceed with the case was made following the decision by the DPP to discontinue the case.

“What DPP has done has completely resolved the issues that MLS brought to the High Court. The interdiction of the ACB director was based on the criminal proceedings against her. Now that the criminal proceedings have been discontinued, the basis for the interdiction has fallen away. We won’t proceed with our application,” Kadzipatike said.

MLS President Patrick Mpaka corroborated the sentiments.


“I can confirm that, through its lawyers, government (that is, Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate and State Prosecutor Levison Mangani) had earlier [on] Monday, withdrawn its application before the Supreme Court,” Mpaka said.

He said the State was trying to challenge the Judicial Review Permission Order that MLS obtained in the High Court but now has changed its [State’s] mind.

“What it means is that the situation remains regulated by the High Court orders of 6 and 8 February 2022: the Judicial Review Permission, the Order of Injunction and the Stay Order obtained on 6th February are not under any challenge and remain to guide all the players involved.

“The DPPs Saturday decision to discontinue the criminal case in the magistrates’ court is welcome but does not resolve the major issues that are in the judicial review before the High Court. Further steps in the judicial review, therefore, depend on what government is going to do following the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions,” Mpaka said.

In their submission to the court, MLS wanted Zamba and others to be taken to court for abuse of office and acting unconstitutionally on the decisions they made.

They also wanted the court to come clear on the immunity for the director of ACB, saying both the boss of ACB and officials should not be prosecuted for something they have done in good faith.

“We want the audio clip issue settled once and for all and the ACB office protected,” Mpaka said.

Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said he is in talks with MLS on amicable settlement of the matter.

“The judicial review application will likely be withdrawn by consent of the parties. Following the discontinuance of the criminal proceedings, both the interdiction and the judicial review application have become otiose,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.

Chamkakala, in his notice of discontinuance of the case, indicated that he had communicated his decision to Zamba so that her office could take appropriate steps in line with the Malawi Public Service Regulations regarding Chizuma’s employment status.

When contacted to comment on goings-on after the directive, Chamkakala did not respond to our questionnaire.

Chizuma has recently been making headlines since her arrest on December 6 2022 over an audio clip which some stakeholders felt compromised confidentiality on matters related to her office, faulting her for discussing office matters with a non-ACB employee.

Former DPP Steven Kayuni and others dragged her to court after feeling aggrieved by the audio.

President Lazarus Chakwera instituted a commission of inquiry to investigate issues related to her arrest.

Later, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba interdicted her in relation to a court case involving the leaked audio, attracting the ire of MLS.

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