MHRC adamant on Martha Chizuma arrest probe
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has vowed to press ahead with investigations into the arrest of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma.
This is despite that the commission of inquiry which President Lazarus Chakwera set up investigated the issue, issued recommendations and wound up its work.
The development also comes after the State withdrew all cases it was pursuing on Chizuma.
MHRC Director of Civil and Political Rights Peter Chisi disclosed Wednesday that they have already engaged Chizuma on the matter.
“To us, as a commission, it doesn’t matter really whether the matter is proceeding or not because what pushed us is the confusion regarding the arrest, [in terms of] whether there was justification regarding her arrest and how the police handled the matter,” he said
Chisi said issues the commission wants to inquire into are still valid and would help them understand the governance crisis, if any, that emerged.
“Where we are now is at a stage where we are planning to proceed with the rest of the interviews. We have already faced some delays but what we want is to come up with a comprehensive report by reaching all concerned parties,” he said.
Chisi said other offices to be interviewed include the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ministry of Justice, State House, Malawi Police Service and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), among others.
Chisi also said the inquiry would also want to close gaps that the presidential inquiry left in addressing the matter immediately after Chizuma’s arrest.
“The public felt that the commission of inquiry had left some important issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa has backed MHRC’s decision.
“It’s important that they continue with the investigations considering that there has not been an independent investigation into the matter. You will recall that the commission of inquiry focused solely on events leading to the arrest and not how Chizuma was treated,” he said.
The government, through the office of the DPP, withdrew all criminal charges against Chizuma, including criminal defamation charges against the ACB chief over a leaked audio in which she was discussing issues related to corruption.