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Norman Chisale’s forfeiture case referred to Chief Justice

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Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Ivy Kamanga has committed Norman Chisale’s forfeiture case to the Chief Justice (CJ) for certification on issues regarding the right to remain silent.

This means, after certification, the issue will become a constitutional matter requiring a determination of the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court.

Chisale made two applications to the court, one of which being to stay proceedings in the property forfeiture case.

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In the other application, he sought the CJ’s intervention on constitutional issues arising in the matter.

The justice has since dismissed the application to stay forfeiture proceedings pending the conclusion of the criminal case in Lilongwe.

However, Kamanga did not have problems with Chisale’s application to have the matter referred to the CJ for certification.

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Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said he was satisfied with the judgement.

He said once the matter is decided constitutionally, there will be no stumbling block to civil proceedings.

“What we would say is that we are satisfied with the judgement because what it means is that the stumbling block for the case to be concluded has been removed. As such, we should be able to proceed. Basically what we are saying is that if proceedings were to be stayed awaiting the conclusion of criminal proceedings, we would have experienced the kind of delay that other cases go through.

“Our hands now have been loosened and we are happy that we should be able to proceed with these cases. We are not talking about small amounts of money; we are talking about property that is valued at over K5 billion,” he said.

However, lawyer representing Chisale, Chancy Gondwe, said the decision by the judge to refer the matter to the CJ means the case will be stayed until the constitutionality of the matter is decided at the Constitutional Court.

“The way forward is that we shall be waiting for the CJ to certify the questions and refer the same to a panel of not less than three judges to determine the issue to do with the constitutional right to remain silent vis-à-vis being called upon to testify in another matter.

“At the end of the day, what it means is that they will be using the evidence one is giving in one case to use it in another case where one is remaining silent,” he said.

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