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Martha Chizuma off the hook in leaked audio case

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The High Court sitting in Lilongwe on Friday ruled in favour of Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Martha Chizuma, in a case in which she allegedly disclosed official information in a leaked telephone conversation in January this year.

Chizuma applied for a review of an order and criminal proceedings commenced against her by one Frighton Phompho before the Mzuzu Magistrate Court.

The order obtained by Phompho required the police to investigate the authenticity of the leaked audio recording of a telephone conversation suspected to be between Chizuma and an unknown person.

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The investigation was intended to lead to prosecution of Chizuma for allegedly disclosing official information.

One of the lawyers for Chizuma, Martha Kaukonde, said in her ruling, Judge Annabel Mtalimanja has set aside the order and the entire proceedings before the Magistrate Court for being vexatious and an abuse of court process.

Asked for a comment Sunday, Phompho’s lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta said he had not yet seen a copy of the judgement.

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“I am waiting for copy of the judgement, which the court says will be provided this week,” he said.

The leak attracted even the attention of President Lazarus Chakwera, who summoned Chizuma to a meeting over it.

In a national address after the meeting, Chakwera said legal advisers had told him that Chizuma’s conduct justified her removal as ACB boss on the grounds of misconduct.

“I have determined that the best thing to do in this instance is to keep a watchful eye on her general conduct in the bureau’s affairs in order to ensure that there are no other incidents of concern about her fitness for office going forward.

“As such, I have given her a stern warning about what the law demands and what I expect from her as the person I appointed to that office,” Chakwera, said.

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